The Government purchased the 78,196 ha St James Station (St James) as public
conservation land on 8 October 2008.
The $40 million purchase price for the St James leasehold and freehold land was funded by the Nature Heritage Fund. It is a significant financial investment in public conservation land. DOC anticipates St James can make a valuable contribution to our conservation economy through the provision of ecosystem services, public recreation and biodiversity protection. Direct financial contributions will come from commercial tourism and land-use activities consistent with the Conservation Act 1987. St James may also have a significant potential for carbon sequestration.
Purpose of plan
There is the potential for a wide range of recreational opportunities to be undertaken on St James. On the other hand, there is the possibility of conflict between differing types of recreational activities or with natural, physical and cultural values.
These conflicts could increase in the future, with intensification of some uses and diversification of others, or could decrease once St James goes past its initial public interest peak and settles into the national patterns of backcountry use, with combinations of declining use in some areas and peak use in some front-country areas.
The acquisition of St James provides an opportunity for New Zealanders to better experience the history of the station as a new area of public conservation land and that has been set aside to not only protect and preserve biodiversity and recreation values but also to contribute to the delivery of ecosystem services, while providing an economic benefit.
In drafting this operational plan the Department has taken into account the status of neighbouring land, relevant statutory documents and policies, and other consultation processes, such as the review of the Canterbury Management Strategy (currently on hold), the pre-consultative draft guidelines for aircraft access Canterbury Conservancy and the processing of all Wild Animal Recovery Operations (WARO) concessions.
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