Date: 11 May 2016
The Department of Conservation is inviting people to have their say through written submissions on a proposal to extend the Heaphy Track mountain biking season from its current five months to eight months.
It is proposed to increase the mountain biking season on the Kahurangi National Park track from 1 May to 30 September currently to 1 April to 30 November but excluding the four days of Easter.
DOC is carrying out a partial review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan specifically to consider lengthening the Heaphy Track mountain biking season.
Submissions can be made until 12 July. See the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan amendment for information about the proposed extension to the Heaphy Track mountain biking season, the park plan partial review process, and a submission form.
DOC Golden Bay Operations Manager Andrew Lamason said the extended mountain biking season was being proposed to promote more use of the Heaphy Track and to give mountain bikers more opportunity to ride it in outside of the winter months.
"Mountain biking has contributed to the numbers of people journeying on the Heaphy Track increasing by 37.5% from 4992 people in the 2008–2009 financial year before the mountain biking started to 6857 people in 2014–2015.
"The current mountain biking season is mostly in winter when cold weather, including snow, can make riding the track more difficult. Most mountain bikers are choosing to ride it in May and September and numbers on the track rise considerably in those two months.
"The proposed mountain biking season extension would give mountain bikers three additional warmer months in which to ride the Heaphy Track."
A review of a 2011–2013 trial of the five-month mountain biking season on the Heaphy Track found minimal conflict between walkers and mountain bikers.
Written submissions on the proposed longer mountain biking season can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Kahurangi Plan Amendment, Department of Conservation, Private Bag 4715, Christchurch 8140.
The 78-kilometre Heaphy Track is suited to mountain bikers with advanced skills (Grade 4) and but expert (Grade 5) technical skills can be required in wet and cold weather.
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