The Future is Bright for the Woodhill MTB Park

Cameron-MacKenzie-Woodhill-October-2014

Photo Cameron MacKenzie We just received this pretty interesting press release regarding Auckland's Woodhill Forest. If you ride in Auckland or intend to then this is a must read.

It comes with great pleasure and excitement to announce that The Woodhill MTB Park's long term future has been confirmed. Bike Parks Ltd, the management company responsible for operating the Woodhill MTB Park, signed a new agreement earlier this month with the new restored land owners of the Woodhill Forest Nga Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara (NMWOK).

Securing the continuation and future of the Woodhill MTB Park has been a long process which started many years ago when the land ownership was still under Crown control . With the land ownership changing from Crown to the NMWOK officially in 2013, the direction of the New Zealand's busiest mountain bike park and other recreational operations within Woodhill Forest was not certain. We have been working closely with NMWOK to ensure the mountain bike park was represented in the strongest way, demonstrating the importance of its long term existence. The commercial board of NMWOK Development Trust has acknowledged this importance of maintaining one of Auckland's greatest recreational destinations in providing us with a long term future. We are excited to announce as part of this new agreement we have been able to secure a new area of excellent age trees to develop a new trail network. This area will provide new challenges and awesome riding terrain for our riding community. This has been the most important part of our new agreement and will combat the issues surrounding the ongoing harvesting operations within our existing network. The current remaining trails will still be in operation until they are harvested in 2016/17, however our development focus will lie in our new area. Additionally we are happy that our car park and base area will remain in its current location for the foreseeable future. As part of this we would like to thank all of our riders for your patience and understanding throughout the harvesting operations to date and while we have been working through these uncertain times.

As with most new ventures and ownership transfers, there are changes on the immediate horizon. Most notably the land is now under complete private ownership. In the past under Crown ownership there was a public entitlement in terms of foot access onto the land. This is no longer the case and it must be treated and respected like any other land under private ownership. The main changes you will see in the short term is the implementation of a new pricing structure to provide an entry user levy contribution to NMWOK. This will be collected as part of our entry day passes and annual registrations. From the 1st of November this will be an extra $1 on day passes and $20 on annual registrations; concession cards will also be amended accordingly. We will also be adding a small development contribution to our registration to help with the new trail development cost. However we feel our registrations fees will still represent exceptional value. As part of this NMWOK will provide a brief survey to complete on entry. NMWOK will use the revenue generated from the entry user levy to fund ongoing routine maintenance of common areas, access ways and security, amenities and coordinate user activities within the forest area. Secondly and later in the year we will be coordinating the gate opening and closing times and manning at all times throughout opening hours. Up until now a security company has been responsible for the opening and closing of gates and have been somewhat flexible with timing. This will no longer be the case, and strict times will be adhered to. We will be revising the current opening and closing times and will advise on these times as soon as possible.

We would like to note that over the last 12 years the mountain bike park has had no external funding or support from councils, charities, grants or suchlike as is the case with many other riding areas in New Zealand. This will still be the case going forward. We have had fantastic support from our commercial sponsors over these years and would like to thank them for their continued support. We are relying heavily on all of our revenue streams for the huge development plans we have ahead, and while we know these changes may not be looked upon favourably by everyone, we need your support and understanding as we push forward and build an awesome new mountain bike park over the next three years.

We are looking at these changes very positively and would like to thank the members of Nga Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara for providing their land for the ongoing use for mountain biking. We now have the long term future we have required for years, thanks to the understanding of NMWOK. We ask that our riding community embrace the changes for a better long term future of mountain biking at Woodhill MTB Park.

NMWOK have set up a new website which they will continue to develop providing excellent information regarding the Woodhill Forest, activities therein, notices about any current access restrictions or warnings, its history and many details surrounding ownership and history.

Please check it out at: www.woodhillforest.co.nz From all of the crew we thank you for your continued support and we are certain that the existing and new Woodhill MTB Park will live up to your expectations.

Cheers The Woodhill Team