New bike trails could boost tourism in the region, if the Department of Conservation approves. PHOTO/ FILE

CAL ROBERTS
cal.roberts@age.co.nz

Proposed mountain bike trails could bring more riders to Wairarapa, if they can get the Department of Conservation onside.

The Wairarapa Regional Mountain Bike Trails Trust has released a summary of its assessment, which looked at the possibility of new mountain bike trails and experiences in the region.

The trust’s chairman, Jonathan Hooker, said the survey shows the proposed trails should be popular with locals and tourists – but would require support from DoC.

The survey’s proposals include a 30km Remutaka Descent trail, a mix of easy to mid-grade trails for Tararua Forest Park in the Mt Holdsworth area, and an upgrade to the existing Kiriwhakapapa Trail.

“The main barrier to these trails being developed appears to be the DoC’s proposed Conservation Management Strategy, which does not currently allow the Remutaka and Holdsworth trails or the Kiriwhakapapa extensions to be developed,” Hooker said.

DoC Wairarapa operations manager Kathy Houkamau, said there was an application process for any development on public conservation land, including mountain bike tracks.

“The process weighs up the potential benefits of a proposal against any potential effects on conservation and the wider environment, along with cultural, social and economic interests.”

Houkamau said it was not appropriate to comment on the specifics of proposed mountain bike tracks in Wairarapa while they were being assessed, but DoC “welcome community interest in increasing recreational opportunities on public conservation land”.

Hooker said the latest assessment showed a demand for the new trails.

“They will meet an identified need for a wider range of mountain bike trails in Wairarapa, allowing more people to enjoy the areas by bike.”