Mountain Bike New Zealand (MTBNZ) has welcomed today’s decision by the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) to allow winter access for mountain bikes on the Heaphy Track.
Chair of MTBNZ’s Land Access Committee, Guy Wynn-Williams, said:
"We're delighted. In their comprehensive reviews of the General Policy National Parks and the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan, the NZCA considered the issues thoroughly and objectively - leading to a robust final decision.”
Mr Wynn-Williams went on to say:
"This decision provides a special opportunity to attract a new group of mainly younger kiwis into our national parks - enabling them to experience our backcountry in a wholesome and self-reliant manner. We anticipate more than 3000 will ride the track next winter."
The Heaphy is a unique multi-day backcountry ride that has no equal in New Zealand - 82km of singletrack traversing from coast to coast through a diverse landscape and vegetation.
85% of submissions to the Draft Kahurangi National Park Management Plan supported winter mountain biking on the Heaphy. Mr. Wynn-Williams paid particular tribute to New Zealand trampers, who have supported the case for shared-use tracks:
“We are grateful to the Federated Mountain Clubs and numerous local tramping clubs who have supported winter access for bicycles on the Heaphy. Together we have shown that trampers and cross-country mountain bikers share many backcountry values, particularly self-reliance and respect for the wilderness.”