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DOC plans trial to limit Tongariro numbers this year

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If you want to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, you’ll need to book in advance. However, once on the trail, you’ll be joined by hundreds of other walkers, rather than thousands.

That’s the plan DOC hopes to trial ahead of next summer as it aims to limit numbers walking the famous trail to 800 per day.

The department’s currently talking to local businesses who say it’ll hit them hard just when they’re getting back on their feet after the pandemic.

The popular walk, which sometimes sees more than 2500 people taking it on in a single day, worries many who are concerned about the environmental and cultural impact, and who say these sorts of numbers are not sustainable. Read more about this at Stuff

Trampers rescued after being blown off their feet in extreme weather

A big well done to LandSAR, who rescued a couple who would almost certainly have died of hypothermia, had they not been found.

The couple had planned to walk from Holdsworth Rd to Jumbo Hut in Tararua Forest Park, but took a wrong turn and ended up on the East Holdsworth Track.

They realised they’d made an error and tried to get to Powell Hut instead, but the weather became extreme and they said they were “blown off their feet several times”.

Luckily, they were within cell phone coverage to call the police at 4.15pm and were rescued at 11pm, where the LandSAR team took them to Powell Hut for the night. It was too windy for them to be rescued by helicopter. Read more here

“Go for a walk at home,” hunters tell trampers in France

The French hunting fraternity certainly appear to have a different approach to human safety than that of hunters over here.

Each year there are dozens of incidents where people are hurt in hunting accidents, and a few cases where people die.

But rather than focusing on their own safety practises, hunters have told hikers to go elsewhere if they don’t want to be hit by a stray bullet, as pressure mounts for hunting restrictions to come into force.

“They just have to do it at home, they won’t have any problem,” said Willy Schraen, the president of France’s national federation of hunters when asked about people wanting a peaceful walk in the outdoors.

“You can always be hit by a stray bullet,” Schraen continued, “But don’t worry, you have a much better chance of being killed in France by a murderer than by a hunter.

“I would never dream of giving a moral lesson to flexitarians, vegans or vegetarians to get them to change their ways.” Read more here

Campers delighted to get their tent shredded

Why, you may ask. Well, it’s because the campers conservationists, and the culprits were eight juvenile kea. The incident showed members of Zero Invasive Predators that the bird is recovering well in the area.

The group were at Mt Adams, West Coast, performing pest eradication work to try and rid the region of rats, stoats and possums.

And although the incident meant they needed to pack up and go home, they weren’t downhearted. “I think we’ll find ways to enjoy having the kea around,” said Zero Invasive Predators innovation director Phil Bell. Read more about this here

Bed bugs now gone from Kepler Track

Speaking of pest eradication, DOC seem to have done the job on bed bugs that were causing discomfort to trampers along Fiordland’s Kepler Track.

At one point they were finding more than 50 of the wee blighters every day at Luxmore Hut and had reduced this to just one or two every other day by the end of 2021.

And since January they’ve not found one bug alive, which will come as a huge relief to the department and those planning to walk the trail this year.

Many hours had been spent sealing any gaps where bugs might hide, and the hard work seems to have paid off. Read more at 1News