Trails grow and im­prove

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By MATHEW GROCOTT

A new sec­tion of the Waikato River Trail is to open next month.

The 11.2km sec­tion runs be­tween Ara­puni and the south­ern reaches of Lake Kara­piro.

Waikato River Trails gen­eral man­ager Glynn Wooller said the new­est sec­tion of track would be open by midFe­bru­ary.

The rest of the trails in the 100km walk and cy­cle­way were ex­pected to be opened by the mid­dle of the year.

About 30km of the Waikato River Trail is open while ap­prox­i­mately an­other 50km is com­pleted but not open yet, mainly be­cause con­nect­ing pieces of track are not fin­ished.

Mr Wooller said a high­light of the new track was a 500m sec­tion of board walk that wound through a sec­tion of wet­land.

The first sec­tions of the river trails to be opened were built as walk­ways.

But the trails were in­cluded as part of the na­tional cy­cle­way project an­nounced af­ter the Na­tional Govern­ment came to power.

This led to sig­nif­i­cant govern­ment fund­ing but also a need to re­work sec­tions of the trail.

In other de­vel­op­ments, Waikato River Trails em­ployed a moun­tain biker late last year to look at the trails from a cy­clist’s per­spec­tive. The cy­clist gave feed­back to those build­ing the track on the sec­tions com­pleted so far.

As a re­sult the track from Ara­puni Dam to Ara­puni town­ship will be closed for sev­eral days while im­prove­ments are made.

In late De­cem­ber a func­tion was held for river trails staff and sup­port­ers on the pad­dle­boat Orunui on Lake Marae­tai.

Mr Wooller said the pad­dle­boat, which started mak­ing trips from Man­gakino late last year, was an ex­am­ple of the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties that the river trails could sup­port.

He said that as con­struc­tion neared an end fo­cus would be

THANK YOU: Staff and trustees of the Waikato River Trails, in­clud­ing Her­man van Rooi­jen and Gor­don Blake, were in­vited to an end of year func­tion on the pad­dle­boat Orunui.

WET­LAND WALK: A 500m board walk is among the high­lights of the new­est sec­tion of the Waikato River Trail.

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