The track work began in September 2017 and involved the staggered closure of 16 tracks.
This included the Webb Creek Track, Hydro Camp to Pinnacles Hut, Pinnacles Hut to Pinnacles Walk and Billygoat Walk, which had been closed following flood damage earlier last year.
“Kauri dieback disease is having a devastating effect on these giants of the forest and there’s currently no proven cure or treatment. We can only save them by containing the disease and stopping it spreading to other areas,” says David Speirs, Director, Operations, Hauraki-Waikato-Taranaki Region.
The track-upgrade work, track closures, public education and installation of cleaning stations are critical ways of managing this.
“The track upgrades help protect kauri roots and reduce wet and muddy areas, which heighten the risk of track users spreading kauri dieback spores in soil on their footwear,” says David.
The upgrade work involved a variety of forms:
- board walks and boxed steps
- fencing and boxed steps
- geoweb, a plastic honeycomb like matting filled with a bark and aggregate mix, with compacted gravel on top
- piped culverts and open drains
“The entire 735 km network of DOC managed walking tracks in kauri forests has been surveyed, as part of our response to prevent the spread of kauri dieback. This involved assessing the condition of the tracks and mapping all kauri within 1.5 m of a track” says David.
“We’re now in the third year of a three-year track upgrade programme.
“In the first two years of the programme we upgraded 54 high priority tracks – equating to 165 km of track, and closed 15 tracks. In consultation with local communities, we’re continuing our work to establish next steps for the remaining tracks. This can include, upgrade, closure or partial closure.”
What you can do to stop the spread
- Stay on the track and off kauri roots.
- Scrub any soil and mud from footwear and equipment, every time you enter or leave an area with kauri.
- Use disinfectant only after removing all soil
- Use the cleaning stations when entering and exiting a track, even if you’ve already cleaned your gear at home.