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Westland National Park 50th Celebration in Franz Josef

( Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson kicked off Westland Tai Poutini National Park’s 50th anniversary celebrations today in Franz Josef and officially opened the newly sealed glacier roads.

The weekend-long celebrations include talks by well known climbers, conservationists and tourism operators in the area.

“This National Park was established back in 1960 because it was abundantly clear to the locals who advocated for it that this area is special,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“The unique values and the prime attractions of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers make it internationally renowned.

“Over 600,000 tourists visit the glaciers alone and allow tourism operators to take advantage of showcasing the natural beauty of the area.

“The Franz Josef and Fox Glacier valley roads were the highest volume unsealed roads in the country, hosting more than 400,000 cars a year, so it’s great to see them now upgraded.

“Westland National Park has played a huge part in the West Coast economy and no doubt the next 50 years will be just as remarkable and prosperous for the generations to come.”

Westland Tai Poutini National Park extends from the highest peaks of Kā Tiritiri o te Moana/Southern Alps to the West Coast beaches. Its world-class natural and scenic values are part of the Te Wähipounamu – South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

Media Release 27 March 2010 from Hon Kate Wilkinson, Minister of Conservation.
Telephone (04)817 6819



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