Trail project needs keen helpers

Te Puke Times - - FRONT PAGE - By STU­ART WHI­TAKER news@tepuke­times.co.nz

Moun­tain bik­ers are be­ing asked to swap cy­cles for sick­les for a day next month.

A plan for of­froad cy­cle trails con­nect­ing the West­ern Bay with Ro­torua is com­ing to­gether.

An over­grown for­est trail near Paen­garoa would form part of the trail — and its in­clu­sion in the Paen­garoa to Ro­torua cy­cle trail is de­pen­dent on it be­ing cleared.

A com­mu­nity work­ing bee planned for Septem­ber 8 will start the man­ual clear­ance of over­growth on the old forestry walk­ing trail through the Roy­don Downs Scenic Re­serve owned by the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion.

The num­ber of vol­un­teers who turn up on the day is crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of this cy­cle­way.

West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil project co­or­di­na­tor Ge­off Canham says the 2km for­est link is vi­tal to the cy­cling route from Paen­garoa as it en­ables cy­clists to get off a busy stretch of SH33 for the trail route to Ro­torua.

“The for­est link is a beau­ti­ful stretch for rid­ing on good con­tour and through stun­ning na­tive bush — it will add a lovely link to the al­ready pop­u­lar route,” he says.

“The vol­un­tary hours by the com­mu­nity may be able to be con­sid­ered as our con­tri­bu­tion to the project and could im­prove our chances of get­ting ex­tra fund­ing. It’s only a rel­a­tively short sec­tion but we need the in­vest­ment to fin­ish the job.”

The over­grown stretch is an old public re­serve walk­ing track through a piece of Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion land within the West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict. Coun­cil has a con­ces­sion li­cence to de­velop and use this sec­tion of the cy­cle trail.

The for­est link is a beau­ti­ful stretch for rid­ing on good con­tour and through stun­ning na­tive bush — it will add a lovely link to the al­ready pop­u­lar route — GE­OFF CANHAM WBOP Dis­trict Coun­cil project co­or­di­na­tor

Lo­cal iwi Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Makino and DOC have given their bless­ing for the cy­cle trail to be built and con­sents for the work have been ob­tained.

Coun­cil’s in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices group man­ager Gary Al­lis says it makes per­fect sense to pro­vide a safe and scenic route to en­able cy­clists to avoid SH33. “This piece of trail is im­por­tant as it con­nects West­ern Bay with Ro­torua and adds to the over­all Tau­ranga Moana Cy­cle Trail to which Coun­cil is pro­vid­ing fund­ing over the next 10 years.”

Coun­cil’s vi­sion is for a se­ries of linked trails to be de­vel­oped over time, cov­er­ing the length of the dis­trict, con­nect­ing Waihı¯, Waihı¯ Beach, Katikati,

moko­roa, Tau­ranga, Paen­garoa, Maketu¯, Te Puke, Puke­hina and Ro­toiti.

This piece of for­est trail will en­able more of­froad rid­ing from Paen­garoa to Ro­torua.

Any­one want­ing to vol­un­teer is be­ing asked to regis­ter their in­ter­est by Septem­ber 6 at wbop­trails@hot­mail.com.

All vol­un­teers will go into the draw for free po­hutukawa trees from Ge­off Canham Con­sult­ing and other spot prizes to be awarded.

Vol­un­teers will need closed footwear, a water bot­tle and gloves.

If pos­si­ble vol­un­teers are asked to bring non-mo­torised hand tools such as a prun­ing saw or se­ca­teurs but, as the event will be held on a mix­ture of farm­land and DOC Re­serve where there is na­tive fauna, to leave dogs at home.

A bar­be­cue will be in ac­tion on the day.

Work on the Paen­garoa to Okere link is be­ing led by the Bay of Plenty Char­i­ta­ble Trails Trust and will po­ten­tially form part of the Tau­ranga Moana Cy­cle Trail and the Na­tional Cy­cle Trail.

The project is par­tially funded by West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil which will be re­spon­si­ble for the on­go­ing main­te­nance of the trail.

NZTA has assessed the trail and is keen to con­tinue to work to­gether to ex­plore fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Bay Trails Trust mem­bers check­ing out the trail near Paen­garoa to be cleared on the com­mu­nity day next month.

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