Freedom campers moved on by ranger patrols

KOREN ALLPRESS
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014

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The number of people freedom camping in the Te Anau basin has more than halved.

A Southland District Council report, presented to the council's activities performance audit committee this week, says there has been a 58 per cent drop in freedom camping numbers in the Te Anau basin in the 2013-14 summer season, compared with the previous two years.

Southland District Council environmental health manager Michael Sarfaiti said it was an unexpected result and attributed it to monitoring of the area.

Three rangers employed by the council performed morning and evening patrols of council and Department of Conservation land, as well as daily locking and unlocking of the Queens Reach Gate.

The council and DOC had worked together to regulate freedom camping during the tourist season, from October 28 until April 30. Rangers used an educational and tourist-friendly approach to move campers on.

It was likely that the patrols would continue next season.

The few campers found at Queens Reach were generally there as a result of out-of-date information.

Seven infringements were issued to six individuals, compared with 27 in 2011-12 and four in 2012-13.

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- The Southland Times

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