A plan to manage regional parks under one umbrella, connecting some via walking trails, could add another major recreational feather to Hawke's Bay's tourism cap.
Creating a regional parks brand would help identify all of the open spaces in the region, the activities people could enjoy in each park and make them more accessible to Bay residents and tourists.
It would also highlight the sites of cultural significance to tangata whenua and those sites which also reflect early European history in the region.
All of the information could be loaded on to the council's website for people to access.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council considered the draft plan for its "regional open spaces" at its environment and services committee meeting in Napier on Wednesday.
The plan is largely based on one developed by the Auckland regional parks management but adapted for Hawke's Bay.
The council's environmental manager Steve Cave, in his report, said a regional parks plan would work in with city and district councils, if those authorities were interested in being involved in the project.
There was also a chance private landowners and "non-public groups" such as trusts which administered land for the public to use, could also be part of the initiative if they wished.
Hawke's Bay Today understands there was a possibility regional parks operated or owned by various public/private groups and councils could be linked to create a major tourism trail from Napier heading north to Tutira, in the future.
The council's asset manager Mike Adye said currently public parks were managed individually and the plan was to pull all of the green spaces together, promoting the recreational opportunities in unison.
"There are gaps in terms of what the public may be seeking in terms of recreational opportunities and what all of the parks in Hawke's Bay have to offer. It will also identify the areas we have which may be suitable for development [into parks]."
A network plan would determine the classification for each park, which included conservation, recreation or investment.
Open spaces currently owned or managed by the regional council included Pekapeka wetland, Pakowhai Country Park, Waitangi Wetlands, Tukituki estuary, Tutira Country park, Waihapua Forest Park, Tangoio Soil Conservation Reserve, Heretaunga Plains river scheme land, Upper Tukituki river scheme land, pathways other than on river scheme land and Central Hawke's Bay forest blocks.
Councillors wanted to know what other councils thought of the idea and what other private land owners or trusts could be involved.
Mr Adye said there had been informal talks with council staff but nothing at "governance level". Cr Neil Kirton said it was a good opportunity to show tourists what the Bay had to offer in terms of its regional park spaces but wanted to make sure the council was not doubling up on current park management plans.
Cr Liz Remmerswaal wanted a map showing how the parks north of Napier connected and it was expected to be produced at the full council meeting next week.
"This is a huge opportunity for Hawke's Bay tourism marketing both nationally and overseas. What we have achieved in the cycling network in the past few years is amazing and this will certainly add to it."