Moun­tain­bike trails ex­tend

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

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.

WAR­WICK SMITH

Peter Scott and Claire Scott en­joy the Ara­puke For­est Park MTB track dur­ing last year’s Take A Kid Moun­tain Bik­ing Day.

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