Striking constructions a drawcard
It’s impossible to drive around Central at the moment without coming across one of our new trails. The roadside section west of the Kawarau – bungy – Bridge on Highway 6 looks very classy, with its post and rail fences and rock work. The zigzags of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, visible from the road as it winds down Elbow Creek from the Roxburgh Hydro lookout, and the Clutha Gold Trail dodging in and out of the Highway 8 roadside reserve west of Tunnel Hill, are all striking pieces of civil construction. I’ve got to declare an interest – as a member of the Roxburgh Gorge Tail Trust, and of community funder Central Lakes Trust – but I can’t help being stoked by the potential of these trails. More than 100 years ago, rail opened up inland Otago. Now, our growing network of tracks and trails are doing the same. They’ll bring thousands of visitors every year, and one day – maybe quite soon – will be more important than skiing in Central, just as they are becoming bigger than forestry in the central North Island. We’ll see a host of new businesses, new tourism products, new recreational opportunities, and a new appreciation of our special landscapes. We’ll look back in a few years and say, ‘‘Wow, this is bigger than hydro, bigger than wine, bigger than snow sports.’’ We’ll be Bike Central.
Malcolm Macpherson teaches applied business excellence at Otago Polytechnic and writes on business topics. He was Mayor of Central Otago District from 2001 to 2010.
On track: Roxburgh Gorge Trail Trust chairman Stephen Jeffery and trust member Barrie Wills take to a completed section of trail.