Introduction

Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club members are getting stuck in to improve eroded sections of the historic Kill Devil Track in Kahurangi National Park.

Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club members are getting stuck in to improve eroded sections of the historic Kill Devil Track in Kahurangi National Park.

Club members have started work to repair water erosion damage to the track, particularly from extreme rainstorms in recent years, and to improve drainage to reduce further damage. The club will do remedial work on 14 km of the 18.7 km track, initially over three years, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation.

Golden Bay Mountain Bike President Brian Sowman and DOC staff inspect Kill Devil Track erosion damage. Photo Brian Alder.
Golden Bay Mountain Bike President Brian Sowman and DOC staff inspect Kill Devil Track

The Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club is being granted $61,500 from the government Community Conservation Partnership Fund to cover costs. 

Kill Devil Track, developed in the late 1800s as a pack track for gold miners, is part of the Anatoki/Waingaro tramping circuit. The track can be mountain biked as far as Waingaro Forks Hut with advanced/Grade 4 to expert/Grade 5 mountain biking skills and experience required.

The mountain bike club’s work will make the track both better to ride and for trampers to walk on.

Erosion damage to Kill Devil Track. Photo: Brian Alder.
Erosion damage to Kill Devil Track

Brian Alder, project manager of the Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club’s Kill Devil Track work, said the Kill Devil Track was popular with adventurous riders and without the work erosion damage would become severe.

“Kill Devil Track is regarded as one of the premier back country rides in New Zealand bringing together a combination of technical riding, diverse scenery, history and physical challenge. It is famous for its 57 switchbacks on the climb to the top of the Lockett Range and the ride along the ridge and down to Waingaro Forks Hut is pure gold.”

DOC Takaka senior ranger Neil Murray said DOC was very grateful to the Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club for its help in developing and maintaining mountain biking trails on Golden Bay conservation land. It included working with DOC on Canaan Downs Scenic Reserve to construct the 14 km loop track in 2009 followed by the club on its own creating the 4.7 km Gold Creek trail.

The Kill Devil Track is mountain biked as a big one-day trip, there and back, or with an overnight stay in Riordans or Waingaro Forks huts. The track’s three historic huts, that also include Tin Hut, have been restored and work on the track retains historic features as much as possible, giving a sense of being back in an earlier time.

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