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

Our approach to visitor risk and safety management

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

DOC’s Visitor Risk Management Policy puts personal responsibility first, then tailors the level of DOC intervention to the skill level of visitors. Front country sites are managed to a low level of risk while back country sites are much less managed and have higher levels of risk.

DOC is responsible for:

  • Identifying hazards and assessing risk at visitor sites.
  • Providing this information to visitors to enable well informed decisions.
  • Managing visitor sites to an appropriate level of risk for the predominant user group at the site.

Visitors are responsible for their decisions, including choosing an experience suitable for them. The policy is based on the understanding that effective risk management in outdoor recreation is a joint undertaking of DOC and the visiting public, requiring each party to exercise separate but interdependent responsibilities.

How we make decisions about visitor risk and safety management

DOC manages visitor safety in accordance with the eight principles of the Visitor Risk Management Policy:

  1. The range of outdoor recreation experiences available to visitors will be preserved wherever possible.
  2. DOC is responsible for identifying and assessing the hazards at visitor sites on public conservation lands and waters, and for providing information to inform visitors of those hazards and the risk arising from them.
  3. All reasonably 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 risk 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, 3,081K)

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