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Lookout for 2000, sports and tourism

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Sports, tourism, and the environment are interdependent. Look at the relationships and how they can be improved now and for the next millennium. Tourists are drawn to the environment mainly for the scenery and outdoor activities. To the extent that their investments can be used to protect and enhance the environment, tourism will grow and be self-sustaining. To the extent that the environment is degraded, tourism will decline.

Sport in the Waipoua forest sanctuary is mainly walking (called tramping) in the woods. A popular hike leads from the lookout tower through the rainforest past Kauri trees to the Visitor Center. The trail ends by the Waipoua river in the valley below. There it connects with another trail that leads to the biggest and oldest trees in the forest.

The trails are tremendously muddy, they never dry out, and could be greatly improved for the hiker. The hikers are trampling the Kauris' shallow root systems. So the hikers are damaging the precious resource they've come to see. A wooden trail bridging the natural forest floor would benefit the hikers and help save the Kauris too. But tax money for the Department of Conservation is continually being cut. Would this be the best use of DOC dollars? Who decides? As of Januarary, 1997, I could find no plan to impove this trail for hikers and forest well-being.

A local activist group maintains that the trail should be closed to the public now.

This issue is a small taste of sports issues for the millenium.

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Last Modified: Sep 9 1998