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Interpretative plan : the Haast Pass Highway : a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Diploma in Parks and Recreation at Lincoln College

McGahan, Paul
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::050209 Natural Resource Management , ANZSRC::050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
This dissertation relates to the need for interpretative planning procedures in respect of highways through national parks, reserves and areas of outstanding scenic quality but in particular focuses on the Haast Pass highway through Mt Aspiring National Park. "Interpretative Planning" is used in the context of this report to include elements in road design and maintenance, not just "interpretative planning" in the context of park interpretation. In most cases highways have been developed long before parks were established. If highways were constructed after a park was created eg, (Milford Highway) then, completion was at a time when interpretative planning was largely unheard of in New Zealand. It is important for an interpretative planning approach to be developed for scenic highways and in particular those through National Parks and Reserves. The highway in the park setting provides the means for many people who may not be able otherwise, to have a park experience. eg the overseas tourist with limited time, the handicapped, the elderly or the young family. In fact the highway is the resource within or through a park that probably provides the greatest opportunity for the public to visit such areas. The co-relationship between the highway and the park is a most important function in terms of park management. Interpretative planning has long been carried out along highways that pass through Parks. However there has never been a fully co-ordinated approach to any such planning either in terms of an overall planning strategy for a specific length of highway or between respective agencies that are involved in the varying aspects of interpreting highways. For example while many parks have provided interpretative material to a very high standard on highways none have developed an overall planning or thematic approach. Furthermore, several agencies may be involved in anyone highway in providing for differing interpretation requirements eg Lands and Survey, NZ Forest Service, Ministry of Works and Development, National Roads Board, Automobile Association. While the various agencies may have a different role to play, their respective roles are nevertheless closely interwoven in terms of highway "interpretation". Without close co-operation between these agencies it is inevitable that interpretative planning requirements for a highway will proceed in a disjointed and piecemeal fashion, to the disadvantage of the user. It is therefore apparent that there is a need for a co-ordinated approach to "interpretative planning" for highways through National Parks, Reserves and scenic highways. This study attempts to identify some of the problems that exist, suggest solutions and a planning strategy toward overcoming these problems. It is also hoped this dissertation may provide some impetus for a national policy to be developed for interpretative planning procedures to be applied in the national context.
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