DOC closes dangerous track temporarily

Risks to the public from erosion have forced the closure of the lower section of Picton's Karaka Point Track from the lookout to the beach.

The Department of Conservation says the track from the lookout to the beach has become too narrow and slippery, with loose rocks falling from the crumbly face above the track.

The track is popular with residents and tourists, and as a short walk is particularly used by families with young children or less-mobile walkers.

DOC services manager Roy Grose said if a child or elderly person fell the four metres down the cliff onto the rocky beach below it could be fatal.

DOC is investigating options to upgrade the track, however, usual methods of track work cannot be employed because of the unstable rock face and archaeological features of the area.

Karaka Point is a significant part of the Marlborough Sounds' history, as it was once a fortified pa, perfectly situated to view potential invaders travelling down the Queen Charlotte Sound.

Earthworks from possibly the early 1700s are still present.

"Access to the site and the need to work around the challenging nature of the geology means this will not be an inexpensive or quick project," said Grose.

"However, we are aware this track is a local treasure, so it's important we are able to find a solution that is sympathetic to the cultural and landscape values while maintaining public use."

DOC is working towards having the track reopened by Christmas. The lookout track remains open.

Sydney Morning Herald