Gold Trail trust honoured in conservation awards
EMMA DAWE IN CROMWELL
Seven years of hard work by a group of Central Otago volunteers who developed the new cycle and walking trail between the Roxburgh Dam and Lawrence was rewarded at the Department of Conservation Inland Conservation Awards in Cromwell last night.
The Clutha Gold Trail Charitable Trust won ahead of fellow finalists, the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club and Bike Wanaka.
DOC regional partnerships director Barry Hanson said the awards were held during Conservation Week and honoured the work of people who went the extra mile for conservation.
Led by chairman Rod Pierce, the trust's members had committed considerable volunteer hours to the project, Mr Hanson said.
"Although supported by DOC and councils at the outset, members and contractors had to carry out lengthy negotiations with private landowners to enable completion of the trail."
The trail passes through farms, which presented challenges, including managing stock access.
To solve the issue, the trust funded and erected many kilometres of fencing, he said.
As between 10,000 and 20,000 people were projected to use the trail a year, it was expected to become a valuable recreational asset, providing potential income opportunities to Teviot Valley communities and towns, Mr Hanson said.
The other two finalists - the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club and Bike Wanaka - were also acknowledged for their dedication and commitment to conservation.
Mr Hanson said the Queenstown club had been instrumental in boosting Queenstown's reputation as one of the best mountain-biking locations in New Zealand.
Club members have developed four bike parks in Queenstown: Jardine Park at Kelvin Heights, a jump park in Gorge Road, the downhill express and freestyle park in Wynyard Crescent, and the 7 Mile terrain park.
Bike Wanaka's members had also played a huge role in increasing the popularity of mountain-biking in the Wanaka area in recent years.
The club's projects have evolved into enormously popular assets for the community and visitors, Mr Hanson said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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