Management Plan


Guidance for conduct of activities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys

A variety of activities are conducted in the McMurdo Dry Valleys Antarctic Specially Managed Area. Co-ordination of these activities is important to ensure that the scientific, environmental, ecological, aesthetic and wilderness values are protected.
Management of activities in the Dry Valleys is set out in a Management Plan. You can view the Management Plan  (PDF) here or the appendices using the links below.

The Code of Conduct, within the Management Plan, is the main instrument for the management of activities in the Area. Further guidance for all visitors to the Dry Valleys is provided in the General Environmental Guidelines for the McMurdo Dry Valleys (Appendix A PDF). Specific advice for scientists is given in the Environmental Guidelines for Scientific Research (Appendix B PDF).

The Management Plan also establishes four types of Zones within the Area for different purposes so they can be managed appropriately. These are Facilities Zones, Scientific Zones, Restricted Zones and Visitor Zone, outlined below. Site specific guidelines and maps can be viewed or downloaded under the Zone Guidelines tab or the entire zone guidelines can be viewed in the links below.

Facilities Zones

Purpose: To ensure that repeatedly used permanent and semi-permanent facilities (such as camps, radio repeaters, material/supplies stores and helicopter landing sites) are contained and managed within designated areas. There are eleven Facilities Zones.

Guidelines and maps for Facilities Zones (Appendix C PDF)

Photos relating to Facilities Zones

Scientific Zones

Purpose: To raise awareness of sites of current or long term scientific research to help ensure that the scientific values of the sites are not disturbed. There are two Scientific Zones.

Guidelines and maps for Scientific Zones (Appendix D PDF)

Photos relating to Scientific Zones

Restricted Zones

Purpose: To restrict access to sites of high scientific value and which are particularly sensitive to human disturbance. Access to Restricted Zones should be for compelling reasons that cannot be served elsewhere. There are eight Restricted Zones.

Guidelines and maps for Restricted Zones (Appendix E PDF)

Photos relating to Restricted Zones

Visitor Zone

Purpose: To manage the activities of visitors (tourists, non-governmental expeditions and national programme personnel) to the Area, to contain and, as appropriate, manage and monitor their impacts. There is one Visitor Zone near the Canada Glacier in the Taylor Valley.

Guidelines and maps for the Visitor Zone (Appendix F PDF)

Photos relating to the Visitor Zone

Antrarctic Treaty Visitor Site Guide (PDF)

Snowy Rock

Wright Glacier and Labyrinth, from Mount Thor. © Andris Apse, Antarctica NZ Pictorial Collection: K211 07/08