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Park and ride proposed for Hooker Valley Track

The car park for the Hooker Valley Track is at capacity for much of the year. Photo: George Driver

DOC is proposing a park and ride system to help cope with the rapidly increasing number of walkers on the Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

The proposal is included in the draft national park management plan, which is now out for consultation.

Visitor numbers on the Hooker Valley Track increased by 35 per cent in the year to March, with more than 100,000 walkers using the track.

The proposal would stop day visitors and caravans visiting the park during peak times, forcing vehicles to park about 8km out of the park and take a shuttle

The draft plan says all car parks in the park are full during peak times and there is limited space to increase the size of car parks.

Operations manager Brent Swanson said the park and ride was being considered in order to retain the “intrinsic wild remoteness” of the park.

It comes after DOC introduced parking restrictions on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing last year in a bid to reduce traffic jams and to encourage people to take buses from nearby centres.

The draft Westland Tai Poutini National Park Plan has also been released for consultation. It includes consultation on permitting a gondola alongside the Franz Josef Glacier.

The public has until November 9 to make a submission on both plans.

After submissions close, public hearings will be held where people can speak to their submissions. The submissions will then be analysed, and the draft plans revised.

The revised plans are then considered by the conservation boards before going to the New Zealand Conservation Authority for approval.

Click here to read the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park draft management plan.

Click here to read the Westland Tai Poutini National Park draft management plan.

 

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