Bike tracks a 'significant move'

A corridor of mountainbike tracks cut across Crown land will be a first for Central Otago.

Mountain Bikers of Alexandra has signed a management agreement with the Department of Conservation to build and manage mountainbike tracks on public conservation land.

DOC partnership ranger Jacob Dexter, of Alexandra, said there was some fantastic mountainbiking around Alexandra but few of the established tracks were on public land.

"DOC and the club recognise the potential to build some great new tracks and to raise the national profile of mountainbiking in Central Otago. This partnership is the first step to achieving that."

Local mountainbikers had highly valued relationships with private landowners but tracks on public land could be signposted and promoted for public use, he said.

"This isn't possible for tracks on private land, which are there solely at the goodwill of landowners. New mountainbike tracks the club plans to build will complement the existing cycling and walking trail network."

DOC had entered similar agreements with clubs in Queenstown and other parts of the country but this was a first for Central Otago, he said.

The members would use hand tools to cut the minimal maintenance 600mm-wide corridors, including the first at Flat Top Hill.

"They are low impact . . . almost like stock tracks. In a dry climate, they are self-maintaining and the standards are completely different from formed cycle trails."

Mountain Bikers of Alexandra president Jonno Kingsford said signing the agreement was a significant partnership.

"The new tracks have the potential to be as good as anywhere in the country. Mountainbikers and the local economy will benefit from the proposed new tracks."

The Southland Times