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Mountain biking trials allowed on 3 Kahurangi National Parks

Mountain biking trials allowed on three Kahurangi National Park tracks

The New Zealand Conservation Authority announced today it has approved a revised Kahurangi National Park Management Plan which allows mountain biking trials on three park tracks, including the Heaphy Track during the five-month winter season.

The mountain biking trials will run on the Heaphy Track between 1 May and 30 September each year and year-round on the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks. The trials continue until the end of 2013.

The revised Kahurangi National Park Management Plan contains new provisions arising from a partial review of the plan that considered a number of matters, including mountain biking, aircraft landings and hunting.

Dr Kay Booth, convenor of the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) committee that considered the partially-reviewed plan, said the Department of Conservation would carry out monitoring to assess the social and environmental impacts of the mountain biking which would be used in determining whether or not bike riding would continue on the tracks after the three-year trial period.

“The plan’s mountain biking trial provisions incorporate careful measures to minimise impacts of the activity on other track users and the environment.

“The mountain biking trial on the Heaphy Track has been kept to the winter season when walker numbers on the track are much lower. The number of riders on the track at any one time will be limited by the accommodation capacity of huts and campsites which is managed through a booking system.

“The Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks are considered suitable for year-round trials. They have generally low tramper numbers and although the track from Flora Saddle to Upper Junction has higher walker numbers, especially in summer, that section of track is wide, enabling walkers and cyclists to pass each other safely.

“Given the shared use of the tracks, mountain bikers and walkers are urged to show consideration for each other. Mountain bikers must maintain safe travelling speeds and adhere to the nationally-recognised Mountain Bikers Code of Conduct.

“Mountain biking is allowed in either direction on the tracks. No more than six riders are allowed in a group.

“The plan contains provision to discontinue the mountain biking trials at any stage on any of the tracks if monitoring shows cycling impacts are significant and unacceptable.

There are also new provisions in the plan to manage aircraft landings in the park which are mainly for recreational activities including fishing, hunting, rafting, caving, and also for some commercial activities such as filming. The provisions set limits on the frequency of landings based on the natural and recreational values of each part of the park. All aircraft operators require a concession to land or take off from national parks and conservation areas.

“The provisions enable a reasonable amount of aircraft use in the park to facilitate recreational and commercial activities while keeping aircraft disturbance to other users of the park at a tolerable level,” said Dr Booth. “They are also aimed at retaining the essential character of the park as remote, undeveloped and as a place of natural quiet.”

The plan also contains revised provisions to increase hunting opportunities in the park to control rising deer numbers.


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