INDEPENDENT NEWS

Upgrading Aotea/Great Barrier tracks to prevent dieback

Published: Fri 20 Sep 2019 03:00 PM
Upgrading Aotea/Great Barrier tracks to prevent kauri dieback spread
Ten tracks on Aotea / Great Barrier Island are being upgraded to prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
The tracks will be closed at times to protect the public and contractors while the upgrade is done.
Aotea’s most popular tracks - Palmers Track to the Hirakimata Summit, the Windy Canyon walk and the Kaitoke Hot Springs tracks - will remain open at all times as these tracks have already been upgraded.
The following tracks will be closed while they’re upgraded. The aim is to complete the work and reopen these tracks by the start of summer.
Line W Track
Maungapiko Lookout Track
Old Lady Walk
Mill Track
Tramline Track, Whangaparapara
Warrens Track/Bridle Tracks
Whangaraparapa Campsite Track
Withey’s Track
Upgrading the South Fork and Kiwiriki tracks will take longer. The aim is to complete this work and re-open the tracks by mid-summer.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Acting Aotea Great Barrier Islands Operations Manager Dave Smith says upgrading these tracks is essential to prevent kauri dieback spreading.
“Kauri dieback is caused by microscopic spores that thrive in wet and muddy conditions and can be spread on footwear by people walking on tracks in kauri forest.
“The upgrade will remove wet and muddy parts of these tracks by installing sections of boardwalk and spreading a bark-gravel mix to provide a walking surface that will stay mud-free.
“Box step stairways will be installed on steep sections of tracks and barriers will be installed to protect kauri in forest bordering the tracks.
“As well as protecting kauri, the upgrades will make walking these tracks easier and more enjoyable for people of all ages.”
The public has a vital role to play in protecting kauri from kauri dieback.
“When the tracks are reopened, people need to stay on the tracks. We also need them to use hygiene stations, at track entrances, to clean their footwear when they enter and leave the tracks,” says Dave Smith.
Closure and opening dates, for the 10 tracks, will be posted on the DOC website during the upgrade period.
The tracks are in the Aotea Conservation Park, which covers more than 12,000 hectares, 43%, of Aotea / Great Barrier Island.
The park is run by DOC, assisted by the Aotea Conservation Park Advisory Committee, which has 10 representatives from iwi and the community on Aotea.

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