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Te Araroa Trail turns 10 years old

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

New Zealand’s 3000km thru-hike, Te Araroa Trail, has celebrated 10 years.
The Walking Access Commission’s chief executive Ric Cullinane would like to see all New Zealanders walk the trail in sections over their lifetime
“Starting as children we can explore the corners of our country, taking our time while walking to meet each other, to learn our history and ecology and to marvel at our special places,” he said.
Cullinane would also like to see the trail become safer, moving forward.
“Currently about 15 per cent of Te Araroa involves walking on the road,” he said.
“We’re working with councils, mana whenua, private landowners and local communities to move more of the trail off road and into nature.”

DOC asks campers to assess risk this summer
More than 60,000 people are expected at DOC campsites this summer and DOC is urging campers to learn the rules.
This includes getting vaccinated and bringing their vaccination passports.
“DOC will be checking that those camping on public conservation land over summer are following the rules,” DOC’s Steve Taylor said.
The move to the traffic light system will see some more remote camping sites closed.
“Where the public health risks at these sites are deemed high and are not easily mitigated, we may also put restrictions in place or close facilities at red or orange under the traffic light system,” Taylor said.
Meanwhile, Covid has been identified in Fiordland National Park at the remote Green Lake Hut. 
The Ministry of Health is advising anyone who stayed on December 4 to self-isolate and get tested.
Read here for more.

Nine kea killed by 1080 operations
A report has revealed the loss of nine kea to 1080 poisonings in 2020.
The Environmental Protection Authority report details the deaths of six kea killed during one aerial operation, and three killed during another.
Intelligence and reporting manager Brian Ruiterman said despite its risks, 1080 remains the most viable pest management tool.
In another incident, an escaped dog died after it went into a treatment area and consumed poison.
“It is essential to ensure that risks to non-target species are managed and mitigated effectively and steps should continue to be taken to avoid any incidents of non-target impacts”, he said.
Read the full story here.

Big Agnes founder bags rooftop tent trend
Big Agnes founder Bill Gamber believes the rooftop tent trend will be a short-lived one.
“Where I find such a big fault is that it’s a very impactful product that will not be in the field in five to 10 years, because it tends to be a very cheap tent on an expensive rack,” he told Backpacker magazine
“People like to drive around and show it off. I find the idea of throwing one out and buying a new one pretty offensive.” 
Gamber said Big Agnes has been asked to make roof top tents for years, but never completed the design process.
“We started to see all the things we didn’t like about it,” he said.
“There’s a lot of really good companies making car top tents, so I don’t want to talk smack, but it doesn’t work from a long-term environmental standpoint for me.” 

Study to test cannabis effects on exercise
Researchers are measuring the effects cannabis has on physical activity.
The CU Boulder study will test the drug’s psychological and physiological effects on 50 participants while exercising under laboratory conditions sober and under the influence. 
“To date, there are no human studies on the effects of legal market cannabis on the experience of exercise,” PhD student Laurel Gibson said.
Results may challenge the stereotypical notion that cannabis decreases motivation.
“We are seeing an increasing number of anecdotal reports of people using it in combination with everything from golfing and yoga to snowboarding and running,” Gibson said.
“If cannabis could ease pain and inflammation, helping older adults to be more active, that could be a real benefit.”
Read the full story here.