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More rangers this summer

There will be more rangers on the beat this summer. Photo: Meghan Walker

There will be more DOC rangers on the beat at popular holiday tracks, huts and campgrounds this summer, as the department spends an extra $2 million on frontline staff.

DOC director for tourism, recreation and heritage Gavin Walker said it was paying for an extra 6000 hours of staff time in the southern South Island alone.

“People can expect to see more rangers than ever out safe-guarding plants and wildlife, collecting fees, keeping the place tidy and advocating for the awesome nature people have come to visit,” Walker said. “This includes car park enforcement and fire risk management.”

Busy areas, including Tongariro National Park, Wanaka and the Milford Road, would also have additional or upgraded toilet facilities, and contract workers to ensure tracks and land aren’t contaminated by human waste.

DOC was also employing wardens to monitor popular freedom camping sites to ensure people camp responsibly and were not damaging the environment.

“We want people to enjoy our great outdoors this summer,  but we also want people to take responsibility for leaving the place as they find it,” Walker said.