Calling all outdoor recreation groups interested in maintaining their backcountry

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JOMalley_DSC8835 Wellington – 15th September 2014

Today the NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium announced that applications are open for three new funds that it manages to support volunteer-led work in New Zealand’s backcountry. Community groups and individuals interested in looking after huts, tracks and other facilities on public conservation land are invited to apply.

“Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC), New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association (NZDA) and Trail Fund NZ are keen to get more people involved in the management of our backcountry, so if you are passionate about doing some work on that special hut or track – and you need some resources – then we would like to help you” said FMC President Robin McNeill.

The three funds are: the Huts and Tracks Fund, the Mountain Bike Fund and the Backcountry Recreation Fund. There is an opportunity for all users of the backcountry to apply for funding. The funds have been made possible by a $700,000 grant from the Department of Conservation’s Community Conservation Partnership fund.

Mr McNeill emphasises, “there are a large number of groups are already doing a significant amount of work – be it the remote hut and track maintenance group Permolat, mountain bikers in the Craigieburn area, or hunters in the Ruahine. There are plenty of people doing practical stuff that supports their pastime but we want to get more people out there getting the satisfaction of getting stuck in”.

NZDA president Bill O'Leary is confident the resulting work will be well received and will encourage more Kiwis to enjoy the outdoors, "these grants will kick-start practical, on-the-ground projects to maintain and restore our outdoor heritage. This could include track cutting, or helping maintain and repair backcountry huts, and will encourage more people to enjoy our natural environment”.

“These grants are geared towards giving back country users greater ownership of the facilities they care passionately about,” said Trail Fund NZ Chairperson Ben Wilde. “This is an exceptional opportunity for volunteer groups to get access to funding to support their good work.”

Outdoor Recreation Consortium fund application forms and guidelines are available from their website: www.hutsandtracks.org.nz

 

How it works?

Naturally, this mutually beneficial partnership between DOC and the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium is attracting a lot of attention, so here’s a bit more background and information on how it works.

The NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium was formed in 2014 as a partnership between Federated Mountain Clubs, New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association and Trail Fund NZ to maintain and enhance backcountry facilities, and attract a wider range of users to enjoy and look after these special places. The Consortium will work on behalf of a wide range of user groups in the outdoors to manage and distribute the funding for the benefit of all who enjoy the New Zealand backcountry. The $700,000 (incl. GST) secured by the Consortium is divided into three pools:

  1. Huts and Tracks Fund: FMC and NZDA are each administering $175,000 of this fund, to be spent on tracks and huts in the backcountry.
  2. Mountain Bike Fund: Trail Fund NZ will be administering up to $175,000 of this fund, to be spent on mountain bike accessible dual-use trails.
  3. Backcountry Recreation Fund: A third pool of $175,000 is available to all backcountry recreation groups, including cavers, horse riders, runners and 4WD users.

 

How do I apply?

To apply, please use the application forms and guidelines that can be found at hutsandtracks.org.nz

To receive funding, the project must be on public conservation land and aimed at maintaining or enhancing facilities in the back country. If you are keen to be involved, but need help deciding what to do, there are project ideas on the website.

To be successful, a project will need an agreement with the land manager (DOC) and the work will need to be done to the right standard and with the right health and safety provisions in place. We expect recreation groups to work closely with their local DOC office and, if you need help to do this, please contact the consortium.

Applications for the first funding round must be made to the appropriate funding partner – FMC, NZDA, or Trail Fund NZ – by 5pm on 12th October 2014.

Application and queries can be sent to:

 

Applications will be checked, assessed for completeness and evaluated by the consortium. We expect to be able to let groups know within a month if they are successful.