New online what ????.
Will have a look now, but can't say I've seen anything in the FMC bulletin or 'Wilderness' mag or any DoC cyber-site I've visited.
Thanks for the heads-up.
It's been going for a few months and the current FMC bulletin has a couple of things about it (in support). Prior to that, Graeme Kates kicked up a big stink about how DoC was pushing through the change too quickly and without proper consultation. (See http://www.softroc.../index.php?page=217 for his view.)
In short, DoC no longer wants to be in the business of taking people's intentions and chasing them up in some places but not other places because that's inconsistent and confusing for people, so now they're no longer doing it in the other places (like Arthurs Pass) but continue to do it in some places (like Mt Cook).
DoC's telling affected people to find their own emergency contact, but it's been glossed up for the media with a website at http://www.adventuresmart.org.nz , which essentially gives people templates for what info they should put on intentions, and has a few tools to make it easier like an ability to enter an email address and have it emailed, and a link to a website that helps with trip planning. It places responsibility entirely on the person to ensure they've chosen a trustworthy and reliable person.
Strictly speaking DoC has no specific legal mandate to do take intentions, but it's been doing so all the same in a few areas until now. An argument is that constant chasing up of people who never bother to sign out drains money and resources from stuff that DoC actually *is* meant to be doing.
Search and rescue are paying for it. Thats good. All they need is to advertise it. They may be doing that but Ive never seen an ad so it must be in the wrong place. They need it in fmc bulletin wilderness magazine walking magazine and here. The magazines might cost a little but theres no point putting a good system together then telling noone about it
I became aware of it last visit to DOC at Makarora but to hell with it.
I'm not sure the FMC bulletin and similar publications would be a primary target, as you'd expect that most of those readers already know everything they need to know about leaving good intentions with people they trust, even if they don't always do it properly. I think it's meant to target people who don't get out much or are very new to the whole thing. The main concern I've personally had is that I don't think this does a great job of actually making sure people choose someone who really is trustworthy, especially if they don't really have anyone obvious like that who'd appreciate what they're doing.
I've seen adventuresmart referenced lots of times in the last few months, although mostly in media articles.
Agree with you 100% Izogi - it's not the experienced who need informing, but the inexperienced who need information and a guiding hand to be available.
Imagine you're an young overseas tourist with no NZ contacts. So if you use it you use who as the email contacts? Mates from you home country? Parents overseas? Will they:
a) understand the importance of what they've been asked to do
b) understand the risks / lack of them in the trip you plan
c) be able to help SAR by explaining what you intended to do, and what the options were
d) Make sure YOU understand the importance of clear intentions, weather forecasts, escape routes, due dates, panic dates, informing people when you're out.
DOC are, as far as I'm aware, responsible for informing, educating, facilitating and encouraging recreation in and understanding of the assets they care for. So they have both a mandate and a responsibility to both assist and educate people regarding safe tramping practices.
We have visitor's centres - and I'm assuming the majority of inexperienced trampers use these to help them plan their trips. This is where we need people helping the inexperienced to document their route, understand the risks, check the forecast, plan escape routes if appropriate, choose realistic timeframes, know the importance of informing people when they're out, and document the above.
So: they do not want to chase people up - ok - I can understand that, even if I disagree with it. But they should still be the place that assists and educates people regarding their route, safety and intentions. To me: that is a core part of their job. This means being available (and experienced enough, and well enough trained) to sit down with them and go through the process, if required. Just pointing them at either a website or a book at the roadend IS NOT SUFFICUIENT.
Wilderness has just posted an update on this -- http://www.wildern...icle/page/articles/
Parts I found interesting regarding the speed of the roll-out:
'Due to the fact there’s no free internet in Arthur’s Pass, DOC installed a computer terminal so visitors could complete the online intention form there. Kate said DOC staff had told him no-one has yet used it and when acting chair of Arthur’s Pass Rescue Hamish Reid tried to use the computer terminal, he discovered it wasn’t working properly.
'"The terminal does allow you to get most of the way through the process, but you will not know if your 'trusted' contact has received the e-mail, or is willing to take on the responsibility,” Reid said. "Local DOC staff have been directing people to the terminal, as they have been requested to do, but I understand that so far few tourists have gone to it, and none have used it to leave intentions. Recording intentions in Arthur's Pass appears to have largely collapsed and that is worrying for Arthur's Pass search team members.'
'The biggest concern for search and rescue personnel is that the online intentions system removes from DOC valuable information about who is in the park. “For any search one of the first things you do is go to the intention card file and pull out everyone in that area and then you have a huge resource of witnesses, which we now don’t have with the new system,” Kate said. “[DOC has] now removed all the track-head intention books in the park as well, so those paper trails have also gone. For SAR it's really put us behind the eight ball.'
That latter point is one I hadn't considered, about the paper intention system being a list of witnesses to call on when something happens, and suddenly that's no longer available because SaR doesn't have any direct tie-in to the AdventureSmart systems or lists of who's emailed what with what intentions. It's not something that's available in most places regardless, but it seems like a significant resource for that area all the same that's suddenly no longer available.
One thing that can be helpful for the SaR people is having your vehicle at the road end. From there they can go on and check the hut books but I suppose this will only be helpful for a minority of backcountry recreationalists as a lot don't leave their cars at roadends or fill in hut books as they go. We do for this very reason; to assist SaR. Hopefully this will be off-set by the increased use of PLB's. It does sound very difficult for SaR though.
We've just come back from Stewart Island and are so used to filling out the intentions form for DoC at Oban. They are still feeling some responsibility as they were very keen for us to let some contact of ours know our intentions. We said we'd made an accommodation booking at the pub but in their minds, this didn't really count! They were keen for us to go on to the AdventureSmart site but we couldn't be arsed as it's a pretty standard itinerary for the North-West Circuit and the island know you've taken a taxi to Lees Bay etc. Frank told them we wouldn't be notifying anyone and they did do a bit of a surprised splutter about that. There's cellphone reception from most of the Northern and Western Coast through to West Ruggedy.
I see from one of the sites mentioned here that when a blogger's brother died, they contacted her at Hellfire Pass lickety split!
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