REPEATED damage, theft and irresponsible driving behaviour has prompted the installation of a locked steel gate on the track to the north Mavora camping area.
Four-wheel drive (4WD) access to Careys and Boundary huts above north Mavora Lake will now be managed.
The Department of Conservation (Doc), with the support of recreational user groups, installed a gate on the track, which will be locked from Wednesday, June 30.
People wishing to drive through the area now need to register online for free to get an access code.
Doc heritage and visitor principal ranger Te Anau Grant Tremain said it was a shame the damaging acts of a few individuals had led to this action.
“Damage to public conservation land, tracks and structures is never acceptable. Repairs and remediation work takes extra time, resources and funds that would be better spent elsewhere.”
He said the decision to control access was a last resort.
Walkers, trampers and people riding mountainbikes or horses would still have unrestricted access.
The Southland Murihiku Conservation Management Strategy enabled restricting access where there was a need to protect the environment from damage.
Users are required to provide some personal and vehicle details and agree to the driving code of conduct before submitting the completed registration form.
They will receive an automated response by email that contains the access code and a reminder about the agreed rules.
Anyone with information relating to prohibited 4WD or motorbike activity, or the recent thefts should contact Grant Tremain on email@example.com or (03) 249 0200.