DOC’s approach to managing risks to recreational users of public conservation lands and waters.

DOC’s approach to visitor risk

DOC has a duty of care to people who visit public conservation lands and waters.

We manage visitor safety in accordance with legislation, statutory plans, policies and management procedures.

The Visitor Risk Management Policy puts personal responsibility first. It then tailors the level of DOC intervention to the skill level of the visitors. For experienced visitors, we will provide information to enable them to manage their own risk. For less experienced visitors we will manage some risk, for example, providing bridges and barriers.

How we make decisions about visitor risk management

DOC manages visitor risk in accordance with eight principles and the relevant legislation, policies, plans and standards that govern it. The eight principles:

  1. The range of outdoor recreation experiences available to visitors will be preserved wherever possible.
  2. DOC is responsible for assessing the risks at visitor destinations and providing information to inform visitors of those risks.
  3. All practicable steps will be taken to ensure DOC facilities are appropriate for the predominant visitor group and/or activity and meet all statutory obligations.
  4. The level of skill and competence required for visitors to manage risks will be accurately represented.
  5. Visitors are responsible for their decisions about the risks they take and for any others under their care and responsibility.
  6. Visitors are responsible for providing the skills, competence and equipment they require to effectively manage hazards.
  7. DOC will prioritise management at popular sites which have a high level of risk and a high volume of low skilled visitors.
  8. DOC is responsible for working with partners to continually improve visitor risk management practices.

Download the policy

DOC’s Visitor Risk Management Policy (PDF, 1,800K)

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