DOC has signed a memorandum of understanding with Leave No Trace New Zealand so the two organisations can work together to reduce environmental damage being done by visitors to the DOC estate.
Leave No Trace (LNT) New Zealand is a non-profit organisation that champions minimal-impact travel and recreation practices through outdoor ethics courses.
Part of a global movement that began in 1994 in the US, it also has chapters operating in Ireland and Australia. LNT NZ has provided training courses to the likes of Outward Bound and the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and is working with Mountain Safety Council, Outdoors New Zealand and the New Zealand Alpine Club.
LNT NZ Chairperson Chris North said many people do not know how to look after New Zealand’s natural places.
“DOC puts out the Environmental Care Code, but has never really supported or done anything to promote it and that’s where we see that it fails – making brochures and posters doesn’t change people’s behaviour or give them the information they need to make responsible decisions,” North said. “We believe people want to do the right thing, but either don’t know what the right thing to do is or don’t know how to do it.”
LNT NZ and DoC are now collaborating on a range of education and training opportunities focusing on responsible outdoor ethics and behaviour and targeting particular groups including youth and international visitors.