Documented assessments of the effects of aircraft over-flights on visitors to Westland Tai Poutini National Park date back to 2000, following the development of a nation-wide standard operating procedure (Booth et al., 1997) for monitoring potential social impacts on public conservation lands. The Department of Conservation now has sound longtitudinal data tracking the effects of over-flights in the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier valleys and is able to use this monitoring to inform its management planning.
The 2013 monitoring report was prompted by an April 2012 decision to allow for a temporary increase in the number of landings on Franz Josef Glacier Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere after it became unsafe to gain access onto the glacier on foot. This was accompanied by the introduction of a trial flight path at a lower altitude that allowed greater separation between aircraft. Both changes had the potential to influence the experience for visitors in the Glacier Valleys hence the value in undertaking further monitoring.
Keywords: Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Glaciers, Aircraft Effects, Noise, Monitoring