Limits possible for national parks at peak times

The Tongariro Crossing. Image: Tom Lee/Stuff.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) is considering restricting the number of people who can enter popular national parks at peak times.

In Tongariro National Park the number of hikers on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing reached 122,200 last summer.

High numbers are again expected over this holiday period, even without international tourists.

Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says DoC is exploring ways to make sure the numbers visiting national parks don't overwhelm facilities.

''This is an ongoing issue for us.

''We want to make sure we can preserve the values of these incredible places.''

She says DoC is always working to strike the balance between the number of people using the parks, with preserving the integrity of the environment.

Allan says DoC is in discussions with iwi about a possible trial to cap of numbers entering Tongariro National Park.

She says she is confident the country's national parks are being looked after and maintained in an exceptional way by Te Papa Atawhai, DoC in conjunction with its various partners where that is appropriate.

''We are pretty confident there is sufficient resourcing there to do a good job.''

Andrew McRae/RNZ.

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