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Elected at the annual meeting of the federation in Christchurch at the weekend, Mr Mitchell said he was looking forward to the three-year term.
The federation, which represents tramping and mountaineering clubs around the country, played an essential advocacy role in outdoor recreation, ensuring trampers' and climbers' views were taken into consideration by government when it was making decisions on national park management plans, tenure review and the conservation estate, he said.
"The object is to ensure recreation and conservation values in these areas are preserved."
Mr Mitchell was elected to the FMC executive in 2005 and has been a member of the strategy and publications and tenure review subcommittees.
The new role would allow him to continue building on the federation's record in advocacy and further develop its crucial relationship with the Department of Conservation, he said.
He was working on the review of the Mount Aspiring National Park management plan and had an interest in the protection of intrinsic park values, realistic management of recreational opportunities and more effective co-ordination of concessions.
"It's a very strong part of my life. I do enjoy it."
Mr Mitchell, a keen tramper since his teens and an active member of the New Zealand Alpine Club Otago section and the Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club, is doing his PhD in sustainable management of national parks at the University of Otago.
He is also a partner in a marketing consultancy firm.
He sat on Doc's Otago Conservation Board from 1999 to 2005.