Loop track proves popular with Gorge walkers
Horizons Regional Council Friday 18 January, 2012
proves popular with Gorge walkers
Over seven hundred people have walked the new loop track at the Manawatu Gorge since it opened in December 2012.
Horizons Regional Council project leader Neil Mickleson is delighted with the result and expects numbers will climb even higher with good weather on its way.
“The development of the loop track was a collaborative effort by Manawatu Gorge Biodiversity Project partners, managed by the Department of Conservation,” Mr Mickleson says.
“The slip in October 2011 actually accelerated the project as NZTA needed to get in there and cut a track to the top for contractors and machinery.”
“Looking back now it’s amazing to consider what that slip did for the recreational side of the Gorge. Without it we wouldn’t have this new loop track, or the fabulous look out at the top of the slip.”
The new Tawa Track begins at the car park on the Ashhurst side of the Gorge. It branches off from the original track and is 4.1km in length.
It has been part of the plan since 2006 and there are further improvements to come.
“Since upgrades to the original track three years ago the number of people walking the track has risen from 15,000 to over 25,000.
“That’s huge. We’re expecting those numbers to go up another 15,000 with the new Tawa Track in action and at this rate they may climb higher still,” he says.
Upgrades to the car park are also nearing completion. Mr Mickleson says so far the area has been contoured, planted out and had picnic tables installed.
“A turning bay into the car park is ready to be marked out and public toilets are going in in the next two weeks. It’s just going to get bigger and better,” he says.
The Manawatu Gorge Project is a partnership between Horizons Regional Council, DoC, Tararua District Council, Palmerston North City Council, NZTA, KiwiRail and local iwi to preserve, sustain and enhance the biodiversity, scenic and recreational values of the unique site.
“It’s a 10 year plan to combine the enthusiasm and resources of the numerous organisations and communities associated with the Gorge area,” says Mr Mickleson.