Ōpārara Arch Track Upgrade

Organisation or Group Requesting Funds: 
Oparara Valley Trust
Contact Person: 
Rosalie Sampson
Email Address: 
Email contact form
What do you want funding for?: 
Working within strong environmental parameters, to upgrade the Ōpārara Arch Track from the Ōpārara Basin carpark to the Ōpārara Arch.
How does this relate to our community plan?: 
The Karamea community is looking toward building a sustainable and prosperous future for itself through the creation of ecotourism opportunities. Assessing the potential of the Ōpārara Basin experience has been identified in the West Coast Economic Development Action Plan 2017 as one of six visitor icons for promotion of the West Coast region and was signalled in the CLDP request for partnership as a recognised recreational and environmental asset. Creating local work opportunities also features in the request for partnership, the overall community plan and related projects.
What is the start date / what is the end date?: 
01.04.2018 - 30.11.2018
Where will the benefit of this grant request be realised?: 
Karamea, Little Wanganui
What are the expected benefits/outcomes?: 
Officially opened in November 2008, the first phase of the Ōpārara Valley Project in the Ōpārara Basin was developed in consultation with the community whilst holding Karamea’s future aspirations in mind. It was also at the forefront of DOC’s new conservation initiative - “working with communities”. As a direct result of this track development, bed nights and international visitors to the area have increased. As before, one of the aims of upgrading a section of the track system is to further increase visitor numbers to the Ōpārara Basin, stimulate geotourism and increase footfall to Karamea so that the area can continue to develop as a local and regional leisure and recreation destination. The project also contributes to the protection of the track environs and the safety of the user, and helps to raise environmental awareness. The scope of the project will also contribute to the creation of work opportunities and be an important source of livelihoods at the destination and at conservation level, as well as training and developing hard and soft skills in those who are directly engaged in the upgrade project. Tourism is seen as a key economic sector in the area and across the region, and research shows that the benefits of iconic attractions are more significant than non-iconic attractions and are more sustainable. In the long term, growth in output and productivity of the tourism sector in Karamea will help to achieve economic and quality of life aspirations, and contribute to viable year-round employment opportunities.
Briefly describe your project or planned activities: 
The current track no longer meets the standards of the tracks to the other attractions in the Ōpārara. Given a choice, visitors now tend to bypass the Ōpārara Arch, the largest arch in Australasia, in favour of the more easily accessible Moria Gate Arch. Both arches are excellent examples of karst landforms. The proposed new track, situated high above the river and including a gallery around the bluff, will keep visitors on the actual track and therefore impact less on the natural environment, as well as keeping users away from the blue duck breeding areas and protecting Powelliphanta and a rare bryophyte growing adjacent to the Arch. It will also ensure the safety of visitors. The style of the new track will be an attraction in itself, and provide stunning views over the Ōpārara River as well as directly into the Arch. It will also provide a superb opportunity for more extensive interpretation of the area's natural heritage, namely the karst landscape and its associated plant and animal communities. The plan is to construct a new gallery around the bluff, three new bridges, a ramp, and an Arch viewing area, with new track surfaces to link these features.
How will you show you have achieved it?: 
*Through the number employed on the project (preferably locals) and the consequent development of new skills through training and onsite participation. More revenue will flow into the community through wages and the use of local contractors where possible, giving a sense of ownership to the community. Volunteers are also a valuable local resource, and will be involved in the project where applicable. *A project barometer can be set up at the Information Centre during the upgrade. *The effectiveness of the project will be demonstrated through visitor feedback, and by monitoring the damaged environmental areas and their rate of recovery Environmentally the Ōpārara area will benefit hugely from the protection processes put in place for the future, as well as from the careful environmental parameters that will be used in the trackbuilding process following an assessment of the proposed track area and ongoing monitoring during the trackbuilding. *The wellbeing of the community can be measured by the creation of more employment, and additional wages and the development of new skills as a result of the new project. Long term, the community will benefit from positive visitor feedback and the resultant extra visitor spend and the possibility of more employment into the future.
Select the ethnic groups or communities which will benefit from your activities or project: 
What is the total grant you are requesting, exclusive of GST?: 
Amount Awarded: 

Karamea community members are invited to leave comments in support (or otherwise) of this proposed community-led development project. Comments will be visible to all. Please be aware that your comment may factor into Department of Internal Affairs decision-making regarding support for the project. We ask that you provide your real name on your comment, so that other community members may follow up with you, if needed. If you prefer, you may email the Karamea Community Incorporated secretary KarameaCIatGMail [dot] com with your comment, and they will post your comment on your behalf.

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