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Outstanding interest in Enhanced Access Fund
Dozens of individuals and groups across New Zealand have applied for a slice of a $230,000 contestable fund setup by the New Zealand Walking Access Commission to enhance access to the outdoors.
The Enhanced Access Fund, now in its second year, supports projects that boost access to the outdoors and enhance knowledge of responsibilities when accessing rivers, forests, mountains, lakes and beaches. Set up under the Walking Access Act 2008, the fund contributes to the Commission's goal of free, certain, enduring practical walking access to the outdoors.
Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said the Commission had this year received applications from 44 groups requesting funding.
"The level of interest is outstanding and goes to show the increasing awareness and value New Zealanders are putting on public access to some of New Zealand's beautiful and historic spots. We've received applications from groups all over New Zealand, from Northland to south of Dunedin."
Funding could be used for a wide variety of purposes, such as upgrading tracks to make access easier, information programmes to educate users on their responsibilities in the outdoors, or signposting to ensure people were aware of the boundaries of a public access way, Mr Neeson said.
"The extensive access people have to New Zealand's outdoors is a big part of the Kiwi way of life. The Enhanced Access Fund is designed to help groups educate users on responsible access and behaviour in the outdoors, improve existing access and extend access for future generations. "
Applications for the 2011 round of the Enhanced Access Fund are now being considered and an announcement on grant winners will be made in June. In 2010, 12 projects received funding. Projects funded included the restoration of a walkway to the Kopuawhara Monument, which is a site of historical significance in the Wharerata Forest between Napier and Gisborne, and the final stage of the Maungatautari Crossing in the Waikato. The Pahi Walkway in Northland, which received $15,000 to assist its construction during the 2010 funding round, was officially opened at a public event on March 12.
The New Zealand Walking Access Commission is the crown entity that leads and supports negotiation, establishment, retention and improvement of walking access and types of access that may be associated with walking, such as access with firearms, dogs, bicycles or motor vehicles.Â