No heli-hiking on Mt Titiroa permitted

Peter Wilson, president of Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand. Photo: Supplied
Peter Wilson, president of Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand. Photo: Supplied
A loophole that allowed tour companies to flout Department of Conservation (Doc) rules prohibiting heli-hiking into a remote part of Fiordland has been closed.

Federated Mountain Clubs president Peter Wilson said  agreement had been reached with Doc and tour operators that heli-hiking to Mt Titiroa would no longer be allowed.

This followed a complaint  lodged by the mountain clubs with Doc last September.

Tourism companies had been granted separate permits to land helicopters and to guide.

The companies holding the two permits then dropped hikers on the mountain, but the helicopter landing permits were intended to only allow tourists quick access to view the scenery from the mountains.

Mr Wilson said a new condition had been added to all guiding concessions that only permitted guiding tour companies to give their clients access to the area by foot.

"For the avoidance of doubt, the concessionaire must not use a helicopter to drop off at or pick up its clients from the Mt Titiroa environs, which includes the Garnock Burn/Snow White clearings."

Doc southern South Island operations director Aaron Fleming confirmed guided walking concessionaires offering heli-hike experiences at Mt Titiroa had been investigated.

"The outcome of these investigations is that all three walking companies involved have agreed in principle to change their practices relating to access to Mt Titiroa, advertising heli-hiking, and restrictions on weekends and public holidays.

"With the concessionaires’ co-operation, Doc formalised this by way of variation to their concessions.

"The companies were advised of this in December 2018."

- Giordano Stolley

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