Planning for the Future
In hindsight one of the things I have most benefited from was the parts of my Forest Service training which focused on planning and management. And also how great outcomes have come out of what can only be seen as an act of faith in years previous.
For a forest manage probably the best example of this is Kaingaroa Forest. Situated on the Volcanic Plateau of the central North Island and initially farmed it was rapidly discovered that farm animals just would not thrive. Then along came the great depression of the late ’20’s together with large numbers of unemployed workers, and a realisation that by the ’60’s New Zealand would be looking down the barrel of a shortage of construction timber as our native stocks were milled out.
The decision was made to initiate a major tree planting program on this otherwise agriculturally useless land using unemployed labour, and planting Pinus radiata. P. radiata had the advantages producing huge numbers of easily grown seed and of being very quick growing, but with the then fatal disadvantage in that the timber was exceptionally vulnerable to rot. So the future viability of the project depended on a solution being found to the issue of durability. And of course it was. Funnily enough the issues of poor livestock health was later discovered to be cobalt deficiency in the soil, and as such easily countered. Now of course I have absolutely nothing to do with Forestry, Farming or Fishing, other than a level of interest from past involvement.
Now Iris and I live in the small community of Stewart Island, which like many in New Zealand has been through a number of “phases” and is now around 2 decades into its second tourist phase. And worldwide tourism is now the elephant in the room for many destinations.
Looking at the issues other communities face with ever increasing visitor numbers, and also being acutely aware of the “Product” we as hosts and guides are placing before our own guests has led me to put my thoughts down on paper.
I am well aware that “Bums on Seats” operations will not be thrilled with these thoughts in any shape or form. But equally I do know that it is easier to limit the speed of a vehicle before you get into trouble, than it is to put the brakes on when you’re going to fast into a corner.