News and media

The Appalachian Trail and us

  • 05 Sep 2008

What makes long trails tick? Te Araroa Trust has recently published a monograph titled 'Long Trails - Origins, Governance and Volunteer Support'. It examines long trails in the USA, Canada and Britain, and applies the lessons to New Zealand's Te Araroa.

Te Araroa's CEO, Geoff Chapple, studied five long trails - the Appalachian Trail, the Bruce Trail, the Trans Canada Trail, the Offa's Dyke Path and the new Hadrian's Wall Path - after winning a Churchill Fellowship last year.

The report makes clear that legislation overseas clearly delineates responsibilities for long trails so that costs are not borne by a single agency. Typically, state or provincial-level government through which the trail passes look after maintenance, while federal or central government agencies oversee the construction and staffing. Most long trails also have a strong volunteer component. The report studies the evolution of trails in New Zealand, and makes clear that New Zealand's main trail legislation - the Walkways Act 1990 - does not adequately bind regional and local government to a central agency (DOC).

The report suggests Te Araroa can be completed by voluntary dovetailing of the various local, regional and central government participants, with good community support en route, and with Te Araroa Trust serving to bring funding and coordination to the project.

The report asks that the New Zealand Conservation Authority produce a report on the state of walking trails in New Zealand, and the NZCA is expected to consider the report at its June meeting. DOC has also promised to investigate legal issues raised in the document - indemnity for Te Araroa Trust, compensation available for landowners via the trust, and also, following a recent meeting of parties interested in walkway development in New Zealand, the possibility of doing away altogether with any liability where farmers or other private landholders agree to allow the New Zealand-long trail across their land.

The report can be read on this web site by < a href="Longtrails/report_contents.html ">following this link, and is available from Te Araroa Trust PO Box 5106 Wellesley Street Auckland, for $12.

Page last updated: Jul 28, 2020, 5:08 PM