Preserving Lakefront, Not Dominating It

Lake Outlet Campground, Wanaka NZ

Lake Outlet Campground, Wanaka NZ

Lake Outlet Campground in Wanaka, New Zealand  might look like your every-day campground in a stunning setting, tucked in amongst the low windswept trees alongside the shores of Lake Wanaka, but I assure this is no ordinary campground. Owners Glenn Tattersall and Tracy Addison happened to be at the right place at the right time a few years ago when they expressed interest in taking over the campground from landowner and operator Liam Urquhart.  According to campground employee Joshua, Urquhart no longer was interested in running the campground, apparently the land developers caught word of his intentions and offered him millions for the lakefront property.  ( Private lakefront property ownership doesn’t exist in New Zealand due to a national law called the Queen’s Chain that declares all land, starting from the high water line at the shore and going  40 meters (120 feet) back are public property and right of way. This also goes for rivers. The public is allowed to use this land for recreation and fishing access.)
About that time, enters Tattersall and Addison.  The owner had no interest in selling to developers and with a lot of work was able to come up with a thirty-five year lease which not only provided Glenn and Tracy with a way in which to operate the campground, but put the land in protection during the next 35 year lease.
The author’s father once owned a lakefront campground near Fisher’s Bay in Sunapee New Hampshire, USA, in the mid 1960’s. The tents eventually gave way to million dollar homes in the form of a “funnel development “ called Oakledge. (The term “funnel development” is used for subdivisions which use a small amount of lake frontage to sell and support a large number of home lots away from the lakefront. This shared access allows many homeowners access to boat docks, beaches, launching ramps etc. Funnel developments were no longer allowed in the early 1970’s in New Hampshire, USA)
In the free market , it was an obvious course of events, as tents wouldn’t pay the bills as much as a subdivision.  So I had personal experience of the value of what Mr. Urquhart and Tattersall and Ms. Addison had accomplished at Lake Outlet.
And Lakeside is no mere campground. Tattersall states his goals in running the operation – “We are making this operation as green as possible. Through our improvements and renovations we will be installing energy efficient appliances in the renovated green building of the main shower and kitchen complex.

Tentsite: Working with nature, not dominating it.

Tentsite: Working with nature, not dominating it.

We are also working with the landscape rather than dominating it. Our tent and RV sites are interspersed around the existing trees and we intend to plant more trees.” He concluded, “This land is locked up in preservation for the next 35 years, and we’re proud to have had a part in that.”  Of course none of this would have been possible without the stalwart vision and forward thinking of the landowner.

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