Parks in Europe - an interesting perspective

by Merv Hood

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre sign

Friends of Hunua Ranges Merv Hood recently visited the UK and shares these interesting observations with us around the parks systems and how they differ from the New Zealand model...

Recently the wife and I had the chance to spend two months in Europe and the UK. While there we had the opportunity to look at a lot of park and other reserve land.

As you can expect there was a wide range of places but I was struck by the high number of places that had some sort of charge attached, even in one place we paid just to have a look at a waterfall. For sure in many cases there was something provided to help with your visit to the area and in a few cases you might have got your “Parking Fee” taken off the price of other purchases but it was very noticeable.

I do hope that we are able to maintain our current situation of open and free access to our recreational estate despite the ever increasing pressure the custodians are under to provide more with less. One way we can stave this off is by getting involved in the many and various volunteer programs run by our dedicated parks staff, be it helping with a bit of planting to sitting in a tree protecting a nesting bird there is something for everyone.

Either contact Southern Parks direct, bail up the next Ranger you see, subscribe to our eNewsletter for regular updates on volunteer opportunites or drop us an email and find out just how you can make a difference.

Mervyn Hood Chair FOHR

PS - Yes we did get to Sherwood Forest (with a surname of Hood we had to!) and even to the Oak Tree and yes we had to pay for the privilege, still, at least this time, it was not the Sherriff or his henchmen collecting.

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