Importance of access highlighted at Canterbury forum

The recent regional forum in Canterbury showcased how important access is to outdoor recreation groups in the region, and how passionate they are about maintaining and improving access to the outdoors.

The forum, held on 21 September in Christchurch, was attended by 22 people representing organisations with an interest in access in the Canterbury region. It was one of four forums held by the Commission each year to coincide with Board meetings in different parts of New Zealand.

Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said Canterbury was a popular region for outdoor recreation and the region's culture of access played an important role in that. However, the forum had raised some ideas for access priorities for the future.

“There were some really positive things said about the Walking Access Mapping System, and some great ideas about what further improvements could be made.

“There was also some lively discussion about how we might work together to reach more people with the 'responsible behaviour in the outdoors' message. Landholders are typically happy to grant access when asked, and most people accessing the outdoors want to behave responsibly – some just haven't had much experience in a rural environment.â€