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Study analyses the pros and cons of hiking poles

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world. 

A new review in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine has collated the pros and cons of hiking poles.

Summarised by Ashley Hawke and Randall Jensen, the analysis brings out the common themes discovered by some of the many studies performed on hiking poles.

One highlight is that hikers burn more calories with hiking poles, and in some cases around 20 per cent more, thanks to the upper body work.

Trampers will also walk faster and it will feel easier, which can be useful in preserving morale.

Poles will take some load off joints and muscles on downhill and flat terrain, though some feel this can reduce important muscle-training in your knees and joints.

Balance is also improved, though two poles are needed to improve balance if walking with a heavy pack. With a light pack, just one pole will suffice.

Read the story here.

DOC deal allows cattle in national park

DOC has been branded negligent for allowing cattle to graze in Fiordland National Park.

As reported by Newsroom, cattle are still grazing in Te Anau Downs, despite the national park’s management plan of 2007 stating there is no stock grazing within the park’s limits.

Taxpayers have already spent $362,000 on a 14.5km fence to keep a farmer’s cattle from accessing the park, but they are still able to access the Eglinton River, because of a deal made with Te Anau Downs Station.

“This agreement noted the inevitability of cattle accessing the national park until a boundary along the Eglinton River was fenced,” DOC’s John Lucas said.

The station has until the end of March to remove them.  

Read the full story here.

MSC launches avalanche safety research project

The Mountain Safety Council is leading a research project on mountaineers and avalanche safety.

Since 1999, there have been 27 avalanche related fatalities in New Zealand, of which 19 have been mountaineers.

The project hopes to improve avalanche safety prevention, and is in need of survey participants.

The survey will take 20-25 minutes, and every participant will go into the draw to win 

one of three outdoor recreational store vouchers, valued at $500. You can find it here.

MSC has also released seven new track safety videos, as part of their Tramping Video Series. Tracks include Mt Somers Track, Tararua Southern Crossing, Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, Copland Valley, Rees-Dart Track, Gillespie pass Circuit and Alpine Route in Mt Richmond Forest Park.

DOC jet boat skipper fined for Whanganui River collision

A DOC ranger must pay more than $10,000 in reparation after driving his jet boat into a kayaker on the Whanganui River last November.

The kayaker moved to the side to allow the jet boat to pass, but the boat accelerated and knocked them into the river, causing injuries to their ribs, lung and shoulder.

Maritime NZ said the DOC worker Wanihi Butler breached the rules in the collision, and failed to keep a lookout.

Read the full story here.