8 Jun 2011

Restrictions planned on landing at bay in national park

4:31 pm on 8 June 2011

The Department of Conservation (DoC) wants to limit the number of tourists who can land on one of the most popular bays in Nelson's Abel Tasman National Park.

DoC is also proposing other restrictions on commercial boat operations in the park, the busiest in New Zealand.

The department says the changes are the last aimed at managing the 150,000 tourists who visit each year.

One proposal is to cut to 300 a day the number of people being dropped off by boat to Torrent Bay, about half the current number.

DoC says the move is to minimise how much private property owners are being disturbed.

The department also proposes to concentrate commercial vessel access on six beaches in the national park. It will not allow boats to continue to use two deeper water spots at Medlands and Tonga Quarry.

Commercial boat operators say the restriction creates health and safety issues.

Darryl Wilson, of tour company Wilsons Abel Tasman National Park, says that boats would be kept further off the beach and more people will have to wade ashore, risking falling over or slipping off boat ladders into a propeller.

Submissions on the DoC proposals close on 8 August.