Funding boost for access to the outdoors
The New Zealand Walking Access Commission is making $54,000 available to projects that enhance public access to the outdoors through the current funding round of its Enhanced Access Fund.
The fund was created to support projects that help secure certain and enduring access for current and future generations.
NZWAC Chief Executive Eric Pyle encouraged community groups, recreation clubs, local authorities and other organisations looking to secure public access to the outdoors to apply for the second of the two funding rounds, with applications due by 31 March 2017.
“Across New Zealand, passionate people and organisations are working to create outdoor access, often on small budgets and relying on sheer energy, commitment and passion. We operate the Enhanced Access Fund to help them achieve their goals.”
Mr Pyle said funding would be prioritised towards projects designed to obtain certain and enduring access, such as negotiations to secure access agreements, legal or survey costs, or the cost of obtaining Resource Management Act consents.
Other initiatives such as signage, installation of stiles and other activities to improve existing public access were also eligible, though these funding categories are given lower priority.
Improved outdoor access has a wide and lasting impact on quality of life, community resilience and the economy, Mr Pyle said.
“New Zealand is famed for outdoor experiences, and our network of tracks and outdoor access opportunities supports this. Better outdoor access helps communities to experience their regions and improves regional economies through increased visitor numbers.”
The first funding round of the Enhanced Access Fund was held in 2010 and since then 85 projects, large and small, have been awarded funding.
Groups supported through the Enhanced Access Fund include the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, which was awarded $50,000 in 2010 to support the recently completed Wairere Traverse, Southland District Council, which was awarded $23,000 in 2015 to support the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, and Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust, which received $30,641 from the EAF to fund new access to the Brynderwyn Walkway.
Application forms, guidelines and further details about the application process are available on the Enhanced Access Fund page of the Commission’s website.