Introduction

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announces the finalised route and huts for a Great Walk in memory of the 29 men who died in the Pike River Mine disaster.

Date:  16 May 2016 Source:  Office of the Minister for the Environment

The route and huts for a Great Walk in Paparoa National Park in memory of the 29 men who died in the Pike River Mine disaster has been finalised, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“This Pike29 Memorial Track has come about because of the families’ determination that some good might come from the terrible tragedy which occurred on 19 November 2010. We are working closely with representatives of the Pike River Families Committee on the design and development of the track,” Dr Smith says.

“The 65 kilometre Pike29 Memorial Track will go from Blackball to Punakaiki, including part of the existing Croesus Track and the popular Pororari River Track. It will include a 9 km side track to the Pike River Mine, where there will be an information centre at the amenities area and a discreet memorial at the mine portal.

“The new track will be to Great Walk standards, include two new 20-bed huts on the Moonlight Tops and on a ridge between the Pororari and Punakaiki River catchments, and will be open to walkers and mountain bikers.

“The Moonlight Tops hut site is particularly stunning, looking across to the Southern Alps to the east and to the Paparoa wilderness to the north. The sea can be seen to the west from a ridge near the hut site. It is possible to see the Brunner and Paparoa coal seams in the towering western escarpment on the crest of the Paparoa Range. A highlight of the Great Walk will be crossing the top of the escarpment, with its expansive and dramatic views across the park.

“The next step now the track route has been finalised and marked out on the ground is for detailed design. The intention is to put the track and hut construction up for competitive tender when this work is complete.

“We are also under way with the review of the Paparoa National Park Management Plan. The plan was overdue for revision and changes are needed to allow this new Great Walk, huts and information centre to be created.

“This $10 million project is a huge undertaking and will be the largest new investment in a track since the Department of Conservation was created in 1987. It offers a premium Great Walk for the West Coast that will be an important new tourism attraction.  I commend the Pike River Families Committee and West Coast DOC staff on the progress they are making. Our ambition is to have track construction under way late this year and the Pike29 Memorial Track opened in late 2018.”

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Contact

Sharon Lundy, Office of the Minister for the Environment
Mobile: +64 21 522 032

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