Trails’ cash runs dry

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Re­serves to keep up main­te­nance of two popular Cen­tral Otago trails are nearly gone.

The Roxburgh Gorge (34 kilo­me­tres) and Clutha Gold (73km) trails were of­fi­cially opened by Prime Min­ster John Key in Oc­to­ber 2013, at­tract­ing thou­sands of cy­clists or walk­ers over the sum­mer sea­sons.

Fig­ures pro­vided to the Mir­ror show while the trails this sea­son from Au­gust 2014 to March 2015 made $11,164 in­clud­ing from dona­tions and grants, op­er­at­ing costs to­talled $19,229, leav­ing a deficit of $8065.

Trails char­i­ta­ble trust chair­man Stephen Jef­fery said for­tu­nately, the deficit could be off­set against the open­ing bal­ance.

‘‘That said, our re­serves are al­most de­pleted.’’

Vol­un­teers helped keep costs down with trustees from both the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold trails putting in 1646 hours for the sea­son, and ‘‘friends of the trail’’ putting in 177 hours.

‘‘Most of the vol­un­teer hours have gone into re­mov­ing wil­low branches and weed spay­ing.’’

Jef­fery said the trust had been dip­ping into its re­serves to main­tain the track— pri­mar­ily for weed spray­ing.

‘‘We have pretty much used it up and are close to ex­haust­ing our re­serves. We have also used a huge amount of vol­un­teer hours clean­ing the track and do­ing mi­nor re­pairs from weather events.’’

The trust planned to ap­ply this week for funds from a new coun­cil con­testable fund of $70,000 set aside for trail main­te­nance, he said.

Photo: JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Great out­doors: Cy­clists en­joy­ing the Roxburgh Gorge Trail.

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