What visitors rave about most is the gob-smacking, pristine scenery of these shaky isles. So the prospect of a monorail traversing a section of back country South Island conservation land makes me more than a little uneasy.
I’ve done my share of tramping and the only thing more satisfying than marvelling at the splendour of this country’s rugged landscapes is the knowledge that some real effort has been required in order to experience it first-hand. Views of the magnitude afforded by our most isolated beauty spots should be earned with a bit of sweat.
Translation: our conversation estate should be for the able-bodied only. Disgusting.
Snowdon Forest, as a stewardship area, doesn’t have the same level of conservation protection as our national parks but that doesn’t mean running a monorail through it is a good idea.
Seriously, hands up who’s ever heard of Snowdon Forest? Anyone?
No doubt it’s a special place, but it’s a place no one has heard of or goes to at the moment. Why tramp into a forest in the middle of nowhere, when you can see the same sort of forest in other places, as well as the views of say, the Routeburn?
The thought of clearing a 29.5km-long, 6m-wide corridor of native trees to build a high-tech transport link, when there are already other options to reach the end point, leaves me cold.
Six metres may sound like not much, but pace it out next time you take a bush walk. Imagine that area cleared and a sleek rail line in its place.
6 meters does not sound like much. You could cut a 6 meter track through a lot of our beech forest and not miss any of the trees.
If allowed to proceed, the proposed monorail track will be the longest in the world. That may – initially – be something we can market. But, in time, a longer track will be built elsewhere and we will still have lost a tract of our magical beech forest.
While the able-bodied may have “lost” a 6 meter stretch in hundreds of miles of forest that they’d never visit anyway, the less-able will still be able to view the forest in all it’s glories. Funny thing is, that’ll still be the case when the track is no longer the longest in the world. Weird eh?
I’m willing to bet that most of the people who use Snowdon Forest recreationally are New Zealanders and they will be the big losers if this project goes ahead.
Quite how that works is not explained. Because… conservation!
Tourists have always come here, despite there not being a cable car up every mountainside. And they will continue to do so, with or without the monorail.
They like our country the way it is.
Translation: Let them eat cake.