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Recre­ational 4WD own­ers in the 09 call­ing area got an early Christ­mas present with the news on De­cem­ber 21 that DOC has agreed to open the Mara­toto Track for sum­mer use. The iconic track in the south­west­ern Coro­man­del foothills has been off-lim­its for 4WD ( and mo­tor­cy­cle) use for some time now thanks to var­i­ous is­sues but has now been re-opened. In a let­ter to fel­low four wheel­ers, John Hickey the North­ern Zone Pres­i­dent of the NZ Four Wheel Drive As­so­ci­a­tion Inc. ex­plained that “af­ter dis­cussing mat­ters with DOC Hau­raki Op­er­a­tions Man­ager Ms Leanna Irvine, the Se­nior Ranger – Su­per­vi­sor Com­mu­nity, and Mr Avi Holzapfel, the DOC Hau­raki Op­er­a­tions Man­ager, DOC has agreed that the Mara­toto Track may be open­ing this sum­mer sea­son and is now open.” There are some con­di­tions, how­ever. The key one – as a re­sponse to the is­sue of Kauri dieback – is that all 4WDs en­ter­ing the area must be cleaned BE­FORE they ar­rive, and as soon as pos­si­ble AF­TER they leave. There will be NO CLEAN­ING in any ad­ja­cent na­tive bush ar­eas and or streams ei­ther. It must be done off-site. To help mon­i­tor us­age DOC has ap­proved the use of NZFWDA-in­stalled cam­eras and a small ( vol­un­tary) fee of $ 10 per ve­hi­cle ( or $ 5 per mo­tor­cy­cle) is to be paid for ac­cess. The pur­pose of these re­quire­ments is to get 4WDs back into the area legally so that the NZFWDA and other sim­i­lar groups can work with DOC on is­sues which mean ac­cess to the track is on-go­ing.

4WDs can now again legally use the Mara­toto Track.

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