FMC launched our ‘Outdoor Community’ campaign in 2015 to identify and enhance the diverse array of recreational pursuits that member clubs and individuals are passionate about. The campaign identifies a pursuit annually that, “takes place in the same environment as tramping and shares the ethos of exploration, companionship and appreciation of nature”, and make its development a priority for FMC over a July – June period. The further aim is to “To reach out to like minded individuals, promote the sport and broaden the appeal of FMC clubs.”
FMC is pleased to announce the celebrated activity for 2020/21 is Volunteering for Biodiversity
The specific support depends on the circumstances. Possible actions include: assisting with the formalisation, governance and management of organisations, providing promotional or safety related material, building the capacity of affiliated clubs to undertake the pursuit, articles in the FMC Bulletin and other media to encourage participation and advocacy on behalf of the pursuit with DOC and other government agencies.
In 2017, the campaign broadened its scope; as well as identifying a particular pursuit, we would also reach out to the outdoor community to find out what works when running clubs and groups. These interviews, stories and resources are then published on our Outdoor Community section of the Wilderlife.nz website and in Backcountry Magazine.
The ‘Outdoor Community’ campaign will serve to foster the next generation of kiwi outdoors people and strengthen the clubs and groups which make up that community. Outdoor pursuits on the edge of normal inspire younger adventurers with a thirst for exploration. Young people, especially the young leaders of tomorrow’s outdoors community, want to go somewhere, or try something, that hasn’t been done before. And by distilling and sharing the collective wisdom of our Outdoor Community, we’ll help strengthen all clubs, so they can remain the foundation of our community.
Volunteering for Biodiversity 2021/22
As members of the outdoor community, we’ve all got a vested interest in preserving the places and creatures we recreate amongst, not only against poor management or harmful commerce, but against nature’s biological threats too. Increasing our knowledge of and connection with our fellow species in the hills, only adds to the richness and satisfaction of our outdoor experience.
We want to inspire a few more of you to consider lending your hand, and show you how an occasional bit of volunteering for biodiversity can be a highly satisfying addition to your traditional habits of mountain recreation.
The scope of our focus is deliberately wide: as well as covering traditional volunteer trapping projects, we’ll look at invasive flora control work as well as contributions to citizen science programs.
A significant proportion of the FMC community are already participating. In a 2015 survey conducted by FMC, 32 of our clubs reported their members engaging in ‘conservation volunteering’, either in club-run projects, or as individuals for other organizations. We also know that many others in our outdoor community are too, from Hunters, to Mountain Bikers, Forest & Bird groups and so on. We hope to help encourage cross-pollination of ideas between these groups and inspire more people to get involved with them and with FMC clubs.
So keep an eye out in places like Backcountry magazine and our Wilderlife.nz blog for stories, articles and resources. As always, if you or your club has ideas or stories to share, please get in touch: we’d love to hear from you.
(Header Volunteering for Biodiversity images, credit to Anthony Behrens and Danilo Hegg)
Essentially “multi-day tramping on wheels” bikepacking is a rapidly growing and evolving activity. Bikes are not appropriate everywhere, but in the places where they are, Bikepacking is a very valid form of recreation which offers many of the same joys as tramping, but with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. From purpose built backcountry rides like the Old Ghost Road, to trips up old 4WD tracks in wide open valleys to National cycleways in the front country, there’s a wealth of Bikepacking opportunity available in Aotearoa.
FMC wants to encourage trampers to consider giving two-wheeled adventures a go. With tips, tricks and advice on how to get started and where to go. We’re keen to hear advice and anecdotes from FMC clubs which already embrace Bikepacking!
FMC thinks Bikepacking is a fantastic and valid outdoor activity, in locations which are appropriate, when there is respect for the environment and others who share that environment. And we acknowledge Tour Aotearoa’s place as “NZ’s long cycle trail” as a peer to Te Araroa, the trampers long pathway.
We’d like to talk more about multi-day biking on public conservation land, to continue developing understanding between bikers, trampers and land managers about the pitfalls and opportunities.
So keep an eye out in places like Backcountry magazine and our Wilderlife.nz blog for stories, articles and resources on bikepacking. As always, if you or your club has ideas or stories to share, please get in touch: we’d love to hear from you.
Family Tramping 2019/20
FMC thinks that every kiwi kid ought to have the opportunity to gain exposure to the beauty, joy and challenges of recreation in our mountain environments.
From when school camps begin from about age 8, there appears to be inspiration, resources and suitable opportunities for those families to go tramping, but there is precious little apparent for the younger families. Whilst a family can, of course, contain any aged members, FMC is specifically aiming this years support towards supporting families with children aged 0 – 8 years.
- FMC wants to encourage and enable families to get out on appropriate tramping trips, with anecdotes, advice and resources we’ll collate and publish. See our Wilderlife blog for what we’ve got so far!
- Risk is an inescapable aspect of life: Understanding and managing it is a foundation human skill. We believe that we owe it to the next generation to do what we can to assist them building sound risk awareness and management. FMC believes that mountain recreation is an excellent medium to incrementally develop understanding of, and strategies to manage risk. The lessons taught in the mountains are real-world skills they can transfer to any aspect of life. We also believe parents/caregivers are the best ones to judge what is appropriate for their own family, and we aim to assist by building resources for families to do trips responsibly. See our Family Tramping resource on Wilderlife.
- We want to communicate to families the value of FMC’s work in advocating to preserve our outdoor recreation future. In doing so we hope those families might consider joining a FMC club, or becoming a FMC supporters.
- We’d like to encourage clubs to engage with with local families and seek out ways to involve them with club trips, and help ensure our kiwi tramping culture is accepting of young children and their families in the backcountry.
- We also aim to investigate, critique and provide solutions for how the managers of public land provide for kid and family friendly tramping.
What can you do?
We’ll update this list as the project develops, with ideas for how you can be involved:
- Get in touch! We would love to hear from families, clubs and individuals who have stories to share, ideas to suggest and help to offer in support of this project.
- Talk to your club about running a Take a Kid Tramping event this summer. Get your club to reach out to local plunkets, pre-schools, kindy’s to advertise the activity.
- Make a point of inviting members’ Grandchildren onto the ‘easy’ club trips a couple of times through the summer. Tell us your stories!
- For parents, share our resources and ideas in your local parenting groups. Organise a tramp or two within your existing communities and let us know how it goes.
Ski Touring 2018/19
Although hardly a new activity, in recent years the popularity of ski-touring has rapidly grown, and FMC would like to encourage more opportunities for people to participate.
FMC would also like some of the thousands of ski-tourers who presently aren’t part of FMC clubs to consider joining the NZAC, their local alpine club, ski club or tramping club, or to become a FMC individual supporter.
As the traditional touring season is so short, we’re beginning our support early, to have it run from the early 2018 season which begins soon, through to the winter of 2019.
We’re pleased to announce some of our plans for these coming ski seasons, to help promote touring.
- We’re going to work closely with the NZAC head office, to get Ski Touring related articles, trip reports and courses promoted and featured in our communications. This coincides perfectly with the imminent release of the new NZAC guide book for Backcountry Ski-Touring in New Zealand.
- Work alongside NZAC and Ski fields to come up with Back country Ski Touring access guidelines: How to behave when accessing the back country using ski field infrastructure.
- Support and complement NZAC’s new guidebook with collating and sharing additional Ski Tour information in collaboration with the team at www.skitouring.co.nz
- Encouraging and facilitating avalanche education, through sharing of articles, promotion of club and professional courses and resources. We’re pleased to have the support and expertise of Avalanche NZ to help achieve these goals.
- Promoting the existing benefits of FMC and NZAC member discounts, and working with Ski Touring related companies to improve those benefits and add new ones.
What can you do?
We want to encourage all FMC member clubs (which includes of course, all the NZAC local sections) to organise introductory Ski Touring courses and club Ski Tours. If your club already runs activities like this, please get in touch with us, so that we can share the details of your activities through our FMC Facebook Page and our Wilderlife.nz blog.
We’re also very keen to hear trip reports and stories from FMC members, clubs, supporters and individuals for us to share with the outdoor community.
Or if you have any other ideas how FMC can support Ski Touring, then please send an email to Dan Clearwater, our Development Officer.
Packrafting involves the use of a small, inflatable craft to paddle a water way. Usually, it involves walking some distance to the beginning of the paddling, however given their portability and forgiving nature, packrafts are being increasingly used for vehicle accessible rivers. Packrafting trips vary along the continuum of paddling challenge and walking challenge. So Packrafting could be the use of a raft to cross a large river or lake during an extended tramp. It could be means of extreme athletes walking into difficult remote rivers, where helicopters may not be allowed. Or anything in between.
FMC has been working with the Packrafting community and Whitewater New Zealand to support the sport as it grows. So far we have provided support to:
- Establish the Packrafting Association of NZ (PRANZ)
- Create a PRANZ website (www.packrafting.org.nz) and PRANZ Facebook Page
- Begin development and adaptation for a Packrafting Skills checklist, Training curriculum and Safety Code.
- Offer 15x $300 Packrafting Training Scholarships. (To apply, please fill out the application form)
- Commit to organise annual Packrafting Meetups, the next being 24/25 March 2018 around Te Anau.
- Encourage kiwi companies involved with Packrafting to give FMC member discounts through our membership benefit scheme.
- Set up a series of Packrafting articles in Backcountry magazine and on Wilderlife.nz
- If you have ideas for the ways FMC can support packrafting, drop FMC an email.
- If you want to get in touch with the packrafting community, check out the Packrafting in New Zealand facebook group.
- Learn about trips options on PackraftingTrips.NZ
Adventure Navigation 2016/2017
Adventure Navigation covers a spectrum of activities, all of which are characterized by moving through unknown terrain with an eye to a challenge or competition. They range from competitive tramping, or hut bagging activities, through to organized rogaining and adventure racing activities. Their common feature is that they require a map. An example of an adventure navigation activity are challenges that clubs run to visit as many huts as possible in their local ranges in a defined time period. FMC will work on an ongoing basis to promote Adventure Navigation as a pathway to off-track tramping and as a way to attract youth into the outdoors.
During 2016/2017 FMC was able to assist with:
- The establishment of an Adventure Navigation facebook group, in collaboration with the New Zealand Rogaining Association, to create a new communication channel for this dispersed community
- The creation of wilderlife.nz as a platform for the wider outdoor community, including the Gig Guide ‘Trip/Event Calender’, which is now active for Adventure Navigation.
- The promotion of Adventure Navigation activities and stories through FMC media channels
- The support of the 50th TWALK, New Zealand’s oldest adventure navigaton challenge, and the support of a film of its history.
After looking at several possibilities, and after agreement with local enthusiasts, canyoning was chosen as the targeted pursuit for 2015/2016.
The simple premise of canyoning is descending streams by the best means possible. The level of difficulty ranges from easy (walkable) to extreme (committing multi-pitch descents in the full force of water). At the easier end of the spectrum it is an activity undertaken by people with tramping skills at the most difficult end the skills used are transferable from caving and white water kayaking or specific to the sport.
While canyoning has been happening in New Zealand for some time, much activity has had a commercial basis and the development of recreational canyoning has yet to fulfil its potential. There are already canyoning opportunities identified and established throughout New Zealand, but there is a huge opportunity for exploration, provided canyoners ensure they have a solid base of skills and experience before taking on too much.
FMC was able to help with the establishment of the New Zealand Canyoning Association, contribute to the printing costs of Daniel Clearwater’s New Zealand Canyoning Guide (through the FMC Trust), promote canyoning through the FMC Bulletin and other media, see a bolting fund for introductory canyons and offer Canyoning Leader Scholarships for the 2015/2016 summer season. The scholarships were designed to encourage and develop competence in recreational canyoners that lead, or intend to lead, recreational canyoning trips. 9 Scholarships were granted to individuals from a range of affiliated clubs. Check out this video of the course attended by Canterbury University Tramping Club’s Ashley Stewart.