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Bikers get Heaphy Track in spring

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/04/2017

Mountain bikers will now have access to the Heaphy Track for an extra two months in spring but a proposed extra month in autumn has been knocked back.

The New Zealand Conservation Authority has approved a change to the Kahurangi National Park management rules which will extend last year's five-month mountain biking season to seven months, starting on May 1 and ending on November 30.

Most mountain bikers were riding the 78km Great Walk in May and September and numbers dropped off during the winter months when, cold and snow, made biking more difficult, says Department of Conservation Buller operations manager Bob Dickson.

It was hoped adding the warmer October and November months to the season would encourage more people to make the ride through the stunning terrain, he said.

It was initially proposed the season extend to April, but public feedback indicated there were high numbers of trampers on the track then.

DOC would continue to monitor how trampers and mountain bikers were sharing the track, Mr Dickson said.

The track in the Kahurangi National Park was opened up to mountain bikes in 2014 after a trial found minimal conflict between the two groups.

Since opening the track up to those on two wheels the numbers using it has risen by around 2000 to almost 6900 annually.

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