Biking and walking track on Barnicoat Range opens

SIMON BLOOMBERG
Last updated 13:00 06/12/2010

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Mountainbike riders, runners and walkers used to head up to the top of the Barnicoat Range and then come back down again on the same four-wheel-drive road.

Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between five different agencies, there's a far more interesting way of getting up and down the hill. The new five-kilometre track named Involution, which was officially opened on Saturday, starts at the head of the Marsden Valley and zig-zags through native bush to the top of the Barnicoat Range.

Nelson Mountainbike Club president Chris Mildon, who led the project, said the track was proving immensely popular and was already being used by hundreds of walkers and riders. It provided an exciting intermediate grade mountainbike trail for riders and scenic native bush walk for trampers as an alternative to the four-wheel-drive road.

"The best part about building this track is seeing the amount of pleasure it gives the users," he said at the opening attended by representatives of all the groups involved in the project.

Mr Mildon said the Nelson City Council-financed project had cost around $40,000 although most of the work was completed for nothing by mountainbike club volunteers and community probation and Kahurangi Employment Trust workers. He estimated that the teams of workers spent about 200 hours a week on the track from May to August.

Nelmac staff helped with the construction on the top half of the track while the Department of Conservation was also involved because the track runs through a 669-hectare covenant, he said.

City councillor Ruth Copeland said the project was "a great example of community groups working together".

After the official opening Ms Copeland decided to get a close look at the track, riding and walking Involution, although she admitted it was a little trickier than cycling the streets of Amsterdam where she lived for 20 years.

"I used to go everywhere by bike in Amsterdam but I never rode up any hills," she said. "I was out of my comfort zone today but I enjoyed it."

Nelson Community Work Services probation services manager Sue Abraham said the workers had enjoyed the job and had received a lot of good feedback from the users.

"That gave them a huge sense of achievement. It's also good for our guys to contribute positively back into the community."

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- The Nelson Mail

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