Feedback sought on recreational reserve

The largest working high country station in New Zealand is set to become more oriented towards growing the area's conservation and recreation.

Molesworth Station is a recreational reserve covering 180,787 hectares in southern Marlborough, owned by the Conservation Department and leased by Landcorp.

Its land combines farming and public access, either open or with a permit, for activities such as hunting, fishing, cycling and travelling.

About 20 people with interests in the station attended a meeting in Renwick last week including tourism operators and representatives from DOC, Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board, Molesworth steering committee, Landcorp, Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game and New Zealand Game Bird Hunters Association.

Molesworth steering committee chairman Hamish Ensor said the Molesworth management plan was in line with the Government's commitment to enhance its conservation and recreation.

Lindis consultant Kay Booth, who was commissioned to write the management plan, said it was designed to guide the management of Molesworth until 2020.

DOC wanted to hear from the public on issues such as public access for recreation, weed and animal pest control, protection of historic heritage and biodiversity and integrated land management.

A compromise between farming and public access was required as the area had integrated land management, she said.

"Molesworth continues to be integrated, and that's what makes it quite special, I think. This is public land. We want to hear about what you think about the plan."

Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board and Molesworth steering committee member Ian Mitchell said the two organisations and DOC were just the "conduit" - about 200 people had contributed to the draft proposal. "Between all of us we'll get it right - and we will get it right because we want everyone to enjoy the place."

Submissions can be made online or sent to the DOC South Marlborough office. Submissions close on December 14.