Mountainbike trails extend
New mountainbike tracks that provide better access are attracting more riders to Arapuke Forest Park.
Manawatu Mountain Bike Club treasurer Peter Wells said a new intermediate grade 1.7-kilometre uphill trail had been completed and was open, with a downhill 2.7km trail that is some 500 metres shy of completion.
Constructed over the past 12 months by nationally recognised company South Star Trails, the new grade-3 tracks increase accessibility in and out of the park.
‘‘We’re already seeing an increase in use of 30 per cent over the same time last year, and that’s despite the weather.’’
However, weather conditions had hampered track construction progress, and Wells said South Star would return to finish the trail at the end of February.
One of Palmerston North’s biggest clubs with over 800 members, the MMBC had re-established 15km of trails after a plantation of old man pine was milled in 2010.
‘‘The two new trails have added to what we have already built up there, and were necessary to enable better access for intermediate level riders.’’
Money for the project came from a council allocation, Department of Internal Affairs grants from gaming proceeds, local sponsors and the club’s own retained funds.
While the club was extremely grateful for the council and Internal Affairs money, and continued community support, Wells said the real heroes were the committed band of determined volunteers who finished off the trails and kept them maintained.
Volunteers are working on creating even more trails and developing the park as a top grade community facility.
By 2020 the club plans to have 30 kilometres of trails running through the park to suit all levels of skill, including a national-level downhill trail and skills area.
Earlier this month, the club hosted the Nduro Events Camelbak Summer Cup at Arapuke, with 150 riders taking part.
Of the 130 out of town riders who competed, Wells said 100 of them had little or no knowledge of the Arapuke trails before they got there.
Those new users would be spreading the word about the trails and helping increase the use of the park.
Peter Scott and Claire Scott enjoy the Arapuke Forest Park MTB track during last year’s Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day.