Mountain biking on Kahurangi National Park’s Wangapeka Track has resulted in a Wakefield man being fined $900.

Mountain biking on Kahurangi National Park’s Wangapeka Track has resulted in a Wakefield man being fined $900.

Rowan John Pearce, 31, was fined $300 on each of three charges that arose from being found by a Department of Conservation ranger riding his bike on the Wangapeka Track, on which cycling is not allowed, on 7 May last year. He was also ordered in the Nelson District Court on Friday 11 February to pay court costs of $132.89.

Pearce pleaded guilty to charges of riding and using a mountain bike in the national park, contrary to park bylaws, and to a charge of failing to comply with the directions of the DOC ranger by refusing to remove his bike from the national park when told to do so.

The court was told Pearce had carried on riding his bike on the track in spite of being told by the ranger that he could not ride his bike there.

DOC Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd said it was important people played by the rules with regard to where and when mountain biking is permitted.

“There are plenty of tracks in the Nelson-Tasman region where mountain biking can take place and where it is prohibited there are generally good reasons for not allowing it.

“As a keen mountain biker myself, I urge bike riders to find out and comply with any mountain biking restrictions.  This ensures the activity is not having an adverse impact on tracks, on other visitors or on privately-owned land. It is not playing fair to ride bikes where it is not permitted including to people on such tracks who are not expecting to encounter bikes.”

The New Zealand Conservation Authority in December approved mountain biking trials on three Kahurangi National Park tracks. Year-round trials are running on the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks and a five-month winter-season trial, 1 May to 30 September, is to take place on the Heaphy Track. The trials run until the end of 2013.

Mr Rodd said mountain biking on the three national park tracks was subject to a number of requirements to minimise its impacts on other track users and the environment, and to protect native wildlife.

“These rides provide outstanding cycling opportunities but mountain bikers need to check out and abide by the rules for riding these tracks. Riders and walkers sharing the track also should show consideration for each other.

“We remind mountain bikers too, cycling is not allowed on any other Kahurangi National Park tracks or on the Heaphy Track outside the five-month winter trial period. People can expect a zero tolerance approach if they ride on park tracks where it is not allowed or on the Heaphy Track outside the permitted period.”

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