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Proposed Adams Wilderness Area: NZRCA Submission

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See also First descent of the Adams River | The Adams Wilderness Area | NZRCA Adams Submission (PDF, 21kb)

A.

Name: Jonathan Hunt
Organisation: New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association
www.rivers.org.nz, nzrca@rivers.org.nz
Postal Address: PO Box 284, Wellington
Signature:
Person authorised to sign on behalf of person or organisation making submission.
Home Phone ####### Work Phone ####### Date: 9 May 2002

B.

Do you wish to present your submission at a future hearing? (Yes/No) ______Yes__
Do you wish to make an oral submission at a hearing rather than a written submission now? (If so please outline your concerns in this submission form.) (Yes/No) _No______
Preferred time for a hearing: (weekday/weekend/AM/PM/evening) Weekday evening if in Chch, Weekend if on West Coast
Time required to present submission: ( hour/s mins) ____0.5 hr____

C.

1. Clearly indicate whether you support or oppose the proposal: 2. My submission is that:
Please state concisely the nature of your concerns. Please give reasons.
3. I seek the following decisions:
Please give precise details.
The NZRCA opposes the boundaries of the Adams Wilderness Area proposal as currently documented. The proposed boundary crosses the Perth river at the confluence of Prospectors Creek ("The Perth River Boundary," [1]), approx. 2km above Scone Hut. However, kayakers have descended the Upper Perth from at least 3km above Scone Hut ([2], p199) and probably higher. Given the steady progression of kayaking skills and equipment that have occurred over the last ten years the boundary should be set higher to ensure recreational opportunities on the world-class Perth river are not diminished. Set Perth boundary at Adverse Creek.
  Proposed boundary crosses Adams river approx. 1km up from confluence with Lambert river: The Adams River has been kayaked from well above the Lambert confluence [3]. The Adams represents a difficult and relatively unexplored kayaking challenge. A relatively small percentage of kayakers possess the expertise to undertake the run, so numbers on the river will always be few. It is important that the recreational opportunity is preserved for current and future whitewater kayakers. Set boundary across Adams river at Adams Flat, or at least the exit to Eblis Gorge.
  Boundary on true right bank of Perth ("The Perth River Boundary," [1]): A boundary fixed to the riverbank does not take into account variable river conditions and a changeable landscape; high-water conditions, landslide, changing riverbed etc. could alter preferred landing sites. Where boundaries follow bank of Perth, Adams or Wanganui rivers adjust boundary to at least 10m from rivers edge to allow landing options over the long term.
  Boundary on true left bank of Wanganui ("The Wanganui River Boundary," [1]): A boundary fixed to the riverbank does not take into account variable river conditions and a changeable landscape; high-water conditions, landslide, changing riverbed etc. could alter preferred landing sites. Where boundaries follow bank of Perth, Adams or Wanganui rivers adjust boundary to at least 10m from rivers edge to allow landing options over the long term.
  Concerns that wilderness policy is out-of-date: ([4], p10) The NZCA was a contributor and supporter of the original FMC wilderness proposals and the 1981 conference, as a way of preserving wild and scenic rivers in their natural state. Our concern is that wilderness policy and implementation has not kept pace with changing patterns of recreation, especially the heavy reliance on helicopter access for modern adventure kayaking.

When discussing the Wilderness Advisory Group which made recommendations to government in 1984, the background paper states "This policy is still current today" ([4], p10). This statement is ambiguous: it may be correct in terms of the 1984 policy being actively referenced in terms of management procedure, but we do not regard an almost 20-year old policy as correct with respect to current or future recreation patterns for whitewater kayaking.
Implement regular reviews of recreation stakeholders and ensure policies are current and are achieving equitable outcomes for stakeholders.
  "Suitability for Wilderness Area Status" [5] NZ Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (1993). This has been of fundamental guidance in defining the boundaries of the wilderness area. The NZRCA has no visibility of this document and are concerned that modern adventure kayaking is not sufficiently represented. The NZRCA would like the opportunity to review and comment on this document. Publish ROS and allow review and update by stakeholders.
  "The proposed change in status would have positive consequences for recreationalists using the area."
"Recreationalists can also travel through and undertake recreation activities within the area without the need for helicopter access."
"Use of the rivers included in the proposed wilderness area for kayaking and rafting would be unaffected if the wilderness area were created." ("Consequences of the proposed change in status" [6]):
The NZRCA regards none of these statements as true since the proposed boundaries restrict or completely deny feasible access to the Upper Perth and Adams rivers respectively.
Amend the boundaries as proposed above.
  Because the wilderness area will be in effect for an indefinite period, there is a need to ensure future recreational opportunities. None of the documents provided appear to define a process by which the wilderness area will be reviewed to take changing recreation patterns into account. Document a clear process that will allow wilderness area management to be reviewed and changed as necessary to accommodate changing patterns in recreation.
We contend that adventure kayaking is compatible with the fundamental wilderness values (aesthetic, soil and water conservation, recreation, biological diversity, scientific value and spiritual) [1].
Our primary concern is that banning mechanised access disproportionally diminishes the recreational opportunities for whitewater kayakers compared to other recreationalists.
Recreational opportunities have already been diminished for whitewater kayakers on the Karangarua, Upper Landsborough and Waipara Rivers.
We are concerned that there is no distinction in management between low-volume, private boating and more intensive access such as flightseeing.
Our preference is for access and user encounters to be managed (via access seasons, permits or other methods) such that current and future recreational opportunities for whitewater kayakers are preserved.
We seek modification of wilderness policy management to accommodate more flexible access regimes.
We seek modification of the wilderness area boundaries to preserve access to the Adams and Perth rivers until wilderness policy management is improved.
  1. Proposed Adams Wilderness Area Information Pack / Boundaries.
  2. New Zealand Whitewater: 120 great kayaking runs, Graham Charles,1999, Nelson: Craig Potton Publishing.
  3. First descent of the Adams river, 1999, Ian Wiseman, http://rivers.org.nz/article/first-descent-of-adams-river
  4. Proposed Wilderness Areas General Information, 2002, Department of Conservation.
  5. Proposed Adams Wilderness Area Information Pack / Suitability for Wilderness Area Status.
  6. Proposed Adams Wilderness Area Information Pack / Management and Consequences of Wilderness Area Status.

On 2 August 2002, the Conservation Minister Sandra Lee announced the approval of the Adams Wilderness area with adjusted boundaries "in response to concerns raised in a number of the public submissions relating to access." Refer to The Adams Wilderness Area for details.

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NZRCA Adams Wilderness Area Submission20.6 KB
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