Riverstone Holdings has shown scant regard for any of the recreational values placed on the Snowdon Forest Conservation Area by the existing users of the Snowdon Area.
The DOC Snowden Forest brochure describes the area: "Snowdon Forest is a picturesque area with open, grassed valleys. It offers a variety of year round recreational opportunities suitable for family groups, trampers, fishermen and hunters." This area is so special that measures to protect this entire area have been developed after a defined process by DOC in consultation with us New Zealanders. There were over 300 written submissions against the monorail concession being granted. Here a just a few excerpts from trampers’ submissions:
What Snowdon Trampers told DOC
“I have been visiting these areas mentioned since 1976 with my parents and family. Now a generation on I am taking my two sons into these areas.
These areas have always been reasonably isolated and have had views that are not broken by man-made engineering obstacles or tourism projects.”
“I’ve tramped through this area and I very much enjoyed the quiet, the solitude and experiencing the beauty of it all. I do not want this habitat and the experience to be destroyed for the sake of an unnecessary and intrusive monorail.”
“We should be protecting these precious areas for current and future generations of New Zealanders, not carving them up for Big Business to make money.”
“The Kiwi Burn is a favourite destination for all existing users in winter as again it is easily accessible and safe relative to other public conservation land in the Fiordland area.”
“From being an accessible location with a good backcountry feel, the area of the Kiwi burn will be destroyed forever. Existing users are likely to be displaced, and my biggest concern is that there is no other experience that comes close to that of the Kiwi Burn in the Te Anau area.”
DOC Publications Describing the values of the Snowdon Forest
Snowdon Forest Tramping Tracks: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/southland/southland/snowdon-forest-tramping-tracks/
Riverstone Holdings wants to brush these protections and basic Kiwi values aside to plough their exclusive monorail and road through the Snowdon forest, rivers and wetlands simply to link with their exclusive hotel site at Te Anau Downs.
An hour and a half walk in from the carpark lies the 12 bunk Kiwi Burn hut, the initial goal for countless trampers including youngsters and family groups.This hut that has sat in a perfect spot on a tussock clearing for more than half a century will no longer be available to trampers. Another hut would be needed to be built at a less desirable site further up the Kiwi Burn valley.
On the east bank of the Mararoa River directly opposite the Kiwi Burn, the most popular tramper entry to the forest, Riverstone would build their bus - monorail transition complex. This is where they intend to launch continual monorail departures. This would begin the elimination of the Snowdon backcountry experience.
From this point the monorail and associated roading network will take over the very country that we thought was for all New Zealanders and any visitors seeking this backcountry experience.
The monorail and permanent construction/maintenance road will displace the existing tramping track over into the Upukerora Valley. Trampers heading there are into true backcountry, but without the extreme demands that deeper Fiordland holds.
The monorail and its network of permanent construction and maintenance roads will dominate the forest trails and valley floors of this incredibly valuable recreation area.
For some presently unfathomed reason, the Minister of Conservation has signalled she has the 'intention to grant' them a concession to do this.
Generations of New Zealanders treasure their first and on-going expeditions into the Snowdon Forest. Riverstone's 30 kilometres of concrete monorail and permanent construction/maintenance road will destroy this Snowdon experience - FOREVER.
Stand up and say "No!"
Now it's time to stop the monorail; take action!