27 November, 2012
Minister welcomes opening of Tongariro tracks
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson has welcomed plans to re-open the Tongariro Northern Circuit and part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on Thursday.
The tracks to Emerald Lakes and Oturere Valley will also be opened on Thursday morning.
“Department of Conservation staff have worked hard since last week’s eruption at Mt Tongariro’s Te Maari crater to see what tracks can be opened and when,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“I congratulate DOC, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and business leaders for working together responsibly and collaboratively to get these tracks open while ensuring that public safety is paramount.”
“The tracks planned for re-opening can be used safely and give visitors spectacular scenes of the national park.”
“Tongariro National Park has over 1 million visitors a year and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand’s most popular day walk. The re-opening of tracks requires careful assessment by DOC and GNS Science on the risk of any further volcanic activity.”
A blessing ceremony will take place at Mangatepopo Road car park on Wednesday in preparation for the re-opening to the public.
A Rāhui (protective restriction) remains in place around the highest risk area within 1km of the Upper Te Maari Crater and the area is closed by DOC.
All other facilities, activities and alternative walking tracks are fully operational within the 80,000ha Tongariro National Park.