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Waiheke trail builder wins outdoor champion award

Waiheke Island’s Gary Wilton will receive an Outdoor Access Champion Award on Friday for his work creating Waiheke’s comprehensive network of walking and biking tracks.

The Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa present Outdoor Access Champion awards each year to people who have made significant and lasting contributions to public access to the outdoors in New Zealand.

The Award presentation is at the Hub, McKenzie Reserve, Oneroa at 10.30am on Friday 24 May.

Gary Wilton is the Auckland Council’s Waiheke Parks Advisor. He is also a dedicated volunteer promoting walking and biking access on the Island.

This award recognises Gary Wilton’s vision and work linking together tracks to build Te Ara Hura, a network of tracks across the island that together form a 100km loop.

Walking Access Commission Regional Field Advisor Dot Dalziell says the award celebrates Gary Wilton’s work creating and volunteering for the annual Waiheke Walking Festival.

This Festival is the largest annual event on Waiheke. It opens significant access across private land and has resulted in thousands of locals and visitors getting out and exploring Waiheke on foot.

"Gary is a Waiheke champion," says Dot Dalziell. "He is a biker and a walker who shares his love of the outdoors with a whole island of people."

Gary Wilton and many volunteers have also built many kilometres of mountain bike trails on the island.

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