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On June 8 Rod Witte (Planning Team Supervisor, Community Relations, DoC) came to Karamea to meet and chat with a variety of local people. His goal was to get some early feedback from our community regarding the Heaphy Mountain Biking trial. Rod is gathering perspectives, details and opinions that will help to formulate a developing report. Most know that the mountain bike trial is a three year test during only the winter months. Specific guidelines have been determined to evaluate the trial, including the mountain biker’s code, DoC’s rules of conduct while on the Heaphy Track and a number of ‘quality check benchmarks’ to measure the wear and tear on the Heaphy Track itself.

Dr Kay Booth, of the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) says that the Department of Conservation would carry out monitoring to assess the social and environmental impacts of the mountain biking which would be used in determining whether or not bike riding would continue on the tracks after the three-year trial period. Rod Witte’s recent visit to our community was to explore those social and environmental influences. Rod spoke with accommodation and service providers, local DoC staff and retailers. His findings are presented to the New Zealand Conservation Authority for their review and consideration. A special note of interest: it is the New Zealand Conservation Authority, and not DoC, that ultimately determines whether mountain biking is to be a permanent fixture of the Heaphy Track.

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