Visitors to Northland's Department of Conservation reserves and camping grounds are to be schooled up about leaving only footprints this summer.

They will be gently taught to stay 20m from wildlife, never feed native birds and poo in a loo (or in a pressure situation, do it away from people and waterways and cover it up afterwards).

It is part of a new multimillion-dollar "Visit the Kiwi way – Look after our place" campaign aimed at minimising the impact of visitors on DoC-managed public land this summer, announced by Environment Minister Eugenie Sage last weekend.

More than $171,000 will be spent in Northland to reduce the footprint of a sizeable chunk of 5 million-plus international and domestic visitors expected to make their way to DoC sites, walks and reserves in various parts of New Zealand.


The Northland spending includes paying extra rangers, and the introduction of ''story-telling rangers'' who will share local heritage and nature-based stories, information and conservation messages and values with visitors.

They will have a similar role to Te Roroa's ''kauri ambassadors'' who welcome visitors to the Waipoua Forest's iconic trees, ensure they use the footwear washing station, keep to the path and leave the forest with greater understanding.

The fulltime and part-time new rangers will work until Waitangi Day; one will be stationed primarily at Urupukapuka Island in the Bay of Islands.

"The 'Visit the Kiwi way - Look after our place' campaign aims to help all visitors to understand the need to have as little impact as possible on our wild spaces and natural areas," Sage said.

"The campaign encourages people to travel responsibly and do the right thing, with practical advice on how to behave in nature in relation to safety, littering, toileting, wildlife interactions, and drone use.

"This aligns with Tiaki – Care for New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand's Responsible Camping Campaign."

In addition to more visitor information, DoC will spend an extra $3.6 million this summer to maintain facilities - including cleaning toilets, dealing with toilet waste, track maintenance and compliance.

In Northland, there are other funds already allocated for the juggling act of balancing development and conservation.


DoC has approved $380,000 for recreation, tourism and heritage capital projects this year, including visitor management funding from Budget 2017.

Work has started with Te Roroa to create a compelling visitor experience at Waipoua Forest showcasing Tane Mahuta and providing further protection from the threat of kauri dieback. Some of the $11.9m invested over five years will align with the new ''look after our place'' kaupapa but the majority will be spent on capital works.

Other capital projects include $166,460 for a track upgrade to Peach Cove, Whangarei Heads and a $188,000 upgrade of the carpark at Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri.