Mountain bikers can begin riding Kahurangi National Park’s Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks now but are reminded they cannot begin riding the Heaphy Track until 1 May 2011, says the Department of Conservation.
The DOC comments follow the announcement by the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) that it has approved a revised Kahurangi National Park Management Plan which allows mountain biking trials over three years on three tracks. The mountain biking trial on the Heaphy Track will take place during the five-month winter season only, 1 May to 30 September. Year-round trials are being run on the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks. The trials run until the end of 2013.
DOC Nelson/Marlborough Conservator Neil Clifton said mountain bikers and walkers would need to show consideration for each other on the three tracks.
“We will be monitoring the mountain biking trials to evaluate the social and environmental effects of the mountain biking. This will include assessing impacts on other people’s use and enjoyment of the tracks and mountain bikers’ adherence to the Mountain Bikers Code of Conduct and other plan requirements.
“Feedback on the trials is invited from all track users. The monitoring and feedback will be taken into account in determining whether or not mountain biking should continue on the tracks after the trial period and, if it was to continue, the measures needed to manage it.
“The plan contains provisions to protect wildlife and their habitat from mountain biking impacts. Bikes must only be ridden on the formed tracks. Bike riding is not allowed at night
on the Heaphy and Flora Saddle to Barron Flat tracks to protect nocturnal giant Powelliphanta snails and great spotted kiwi/roroa.
“Signs and other information will alert riders to watch out for Powelliphanta snails on several short sections of the Heaphy Track through snail habitat.
“Bikes can be ridden day or night on the Kill Devil Track. Mountain biking is now allowed as far as Waingaro Forks Hut.”