FMC President Jan Finlayson is urging NZSki to hit pause on its plan to charge for vehicle access on the Remarkables Ski Field Access Road this summer.
Nearly all the land underlying the road is publicly-owned conservation land. For locals, it is a place of recreation and respite. FMC supports the right of the public who wish to freely access this part of their backyard as often as they wish.
“Introducing a fee for use of the road effectively puts a public good into private hands,” says Jan.
“As a precedent the proposal is alarming, and we would strongly encourage NZSki to show leadership in the outdoor community by committing to the public’s right to freedom of access.”
FMC have previously proposed a Remarkables National Park which would incorporate land accessible by the Remarkables Ski Field Access Road. The concept continues to move forward.
FMC believes the International Visitor Levy, introduced in July 2019, should be considered as a source of funding towards the upkeep of the road, and strongly suggests that NZSki work with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to explore all available funding options.
“The Remarkables forms a backdrop to an area whose natural environment and local community feel tourism’s unrelenting pressure,” says Jan.
“Access to this area is often prohibitively expensive for ordinary New Zealanders and charging for road access just adds to the expense.”
FMC was formed in 1931 and advocates for the backcountry and outdoor recreation on behalf of 22,000 members in 90 clubs.