24 Mar 2010

Trampers unhappy at fee to use Queen Charlotte track

8:38 am on 24 March 2010

Trampers are unhappy a fee is to be charged for using the Queen Charlotte track in the Marlborough Sounds.

The fee of between $10 and $15 is due to take effect in July this year and designed to help cope with increasing number of visitors to the 71km track at the top of the South Island.

Marlborough District Council, some tourist operators and the Department of Conservation support the increase.

Marlborough Tramping Club member Allen Oliver believes it is a bad idea, saying the region already benefits from more than 25,000 visitors using the track each year and numbers may dwindle if a fee is imposed.

Tramper Catherine Parker, of Lower Hutt, says people have many other costs to consider, including paying for water taxis and accomodation, and believes the fee will put them off.

Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman says he is happy for walkers and bikers to be charged a fee - as long as it guarantees that the track stays open.

Mr Sowman says he does not want to see a repeat of last year when a landowner closed part of the track to carry out animal control work. He says fine details of the proposal need to be worked out.