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Trust Urges Riders to Keeps Pedals Cranking

Trust Urges Riders to Keeps Pedals Cranking as Great Taste Trail Repairs Underway

Sections of Nelson's Great Taste Trail damaged by recent storms will be fixed in time for the Easter holidays.

Trail Manager for the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust, Joshua Aldridge, said damage had been limited to four areas. These are Richmond to Lansdowne Rd (along Lower Queen Street), Rabbit Island, Mapua foreshore, and Motueka to Kaiteriteri. Three detours are currently in place – and are expected to remain for up to six weeks. The detours mean that cyclists can still complete the trail. Please refer to our website www.heartofbiking.org.nz for up-to-date detour information.

While devastating, around 95% of the Great Taste Trail is in good shape. There is lots to ride, with around 110 km of easy off-road cycle trail built to a high design standard.

However, it is a priority for the Trust to fix the damaged sections and Aldridge has been talking with Tasman District Council. “We have agreed short medium and long-term solutions for each of the damaged sections from Richmond to Kaiteriteri”.

“We aren’t making rushed decisions. Each section requires a different solution. In some places, we are looking at realignment options and this may lead to trail enhancements. In other sections we will improve trail resilience by using different construction methods, materials and technology”.

To assist with money for repairing the trail, The Trust will apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which has assistance available under its Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund. The recent storm will be classed as an ‘extreme’ event.

The Trust has talked with several contractors and got some of the obvious fixes underway and are waiting on quotes for others. Fast responses from Tasman District Council's contractors, have helped them to clear the worst of the debris. Aldridge says, “we are very humbled by the support being shown by businesses, volunteers and rotary clubs and users. With this support I’m optimistic we can get the trail fully open again by Easter”.

The trail section from Richmond to Wakefield and Spooners Tunnel was unaffected by the recent storms. Aldridge urges users to get out and ride the Great Taste Trail, as most is still fully open. “An excellent day trip is to cycle from Richmond to Spooners and then Norris Gully (36km) and even better if you have someone to retrieve you at the end and head for a cold beer”.

“Or you could park at Wai-iti Domain and opt for a more relaxed cycle on rail trail for 7km to Spooners Tunnel. If doing this take a torch as the Tunnel is not lit. At 1.4km Spooners Tunnel is NZ's longest decommissioned rail tunnel and the longest in the southern hemisphere”.

The Great Taste Trail has had a busy summer. There is growth in user numbers and the demand for accommodation, attractions and services is growing. Christmas counter data showed that the trail is increasing in popularity amongst locals plus visitors to the region. Kaiteriteri Mountain Park is a major draw card and all the trails there are in good condition.

The Trust values the continuing support of users, both Councils and all other stakeholders and says, “encourage your friends and family to visit this Autumn”.

The “Top of the South” / “Te Tau Ihu” is increasingly being recognised as a cycling destination, attracting visitors from around New Zealand and overseas. Counters on the Great Taste Trail over the past three years have averaged around 180,000 passes per annum.

In a concluding comment Aldridge, says to local people, “get on your bike now and explore the Great Taste Trail and don’t forget the Dun Mountain Trail; this 38km loop from Nelson’s back doorstep is a stunning half day mountainbike or day hike. Show us your support by getting out there and enjoying this fantastic local asset”.
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