Date: 24 July 2013
The Department of Conservation and Bike Taupō Advocacy Group (Inc.) recently celebrated a significant partnership milestone with the granting of a DOC concession that enables subleasing privileges.
DOC Tongariro Whanganui Taranaki Conservator Damian Coutts said it was a first for DOC to grant a concession that allowed the concessionaire to sublease or grant permits for activities, and retain the resulting fees.
"In the past, individual operators would have lodged applications for guiding, filming, transportation and event activities with DOC and the fees from those activities would have gone to the governments consolidated funds."
However, the new concession allows Bike Taupō the ability to be able to sub contract the right to undertake specific activities on the Great Lake Trail and retain the fees to fund track maintenance and conservation restoration projects.
"This is part of living the new DOC vision of working with others to achieve more conservation gains than the Department could have done on its own" says Mr Coutts.
Bike Taupō Chairman Rowan Sapsford says this is a significant benefit as the ongoing costs for track maintenance are a considerable expense for Bike Taupō. "It is great that the department was able to recognise the contribution that Bike Taupō makes to enabling people to use the conservation estate as well as actually improving it along the way."
The Great Lake Track is on public conservation land but is built and maintained by Bike Taupō. The track was started with the W2K section between Whakaipō Bay and Kinloch in 2007. Currently there are approximately 30,000 users per year on the track. Bike Taupō have also undertaken major ‘wilding pine’ eradication operations on Whakaipō headland, have put in a trap line for rats and mustelids and are currently planning a significant wetland enhancement project on the Orakau section of the trail off Whangamata Road.
"The Granting of this concession is trail blazing stuff. All additional funds raised through these concessions will stay in this community and be used for future maintenance and conservation projects instead of going out of the area as they would have otherwise."
Mr Sapsford says applications for events, filming, guiding and transport operations on the Great Lake Trail and immediate area can now be processed and approved by Bike Taupō.
"We involved local iwi in the preparation of our application for this concession and in addition we will consult with them on each and every application that comes in. We are already talking to a number of operators who want to lodge an application with us for activities on the Great Lake Trail," he says.
View from the Waihaha mountain bike track on the Great Lake Trail