Backcountry projects across New Zealand receive almost $100,000 for volunteer-led work

DOC staff member Chris Stewart helps with track maintenance - Photo by John O'Malley

Trail Fund NZ is pleased to announce that 11 clubs from around the country will receive almost $100,000 in total to support volunteer-led work in New Zealand’s backcountry. From Thames to Southland, clubs and trusts were excited to find out they had received funding for mountain-bike accessible track maintenance, upgrades and signage.

This funding is made possible by a $700,000 grant from the Department of Conservation’s Community Conservation Partnership Fund. The grant is being managed by the NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium, which is comprised of three not-for-profit organisations – Federated Mountain Clubs, New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association and Trail Fund NZ.

“These grants are geared towards giving backcountry users greater ownership of the facilities they care passionately about,” says Trail Fund NZ chairperson Ben Wilde. “It was great to have so many applicants keen to take advantage of the opportunity, and we were pleased to fund or partly-fund the majority of the requests.

“The funding is going towards tracks throughout the country – including Craigieburn in Canterbury, Old Ghost Road on the West Coast and Te Tihi O Ruru and Te Ranga Trail on Rainbow Mountain near Rotorua, to name a few. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this great work and hearing about the improvements they’ve made to the backcountry experience!”

The Department of Conservation was also glad to such great projects being funded in the first round.

“We’re thrilled to see how well the Consortium is working and the effort they’ve put into funding quality proposals,” said DOC recreation advisor Andy Thompson.

“The focus of the fund is to maintain and enhance our backcountry facilities, rather than building lots of new tracks. It’s exciting to see New Zealanders engaging in this new mechanism and how it’s enabling people to get out there and look after the places they care so much about. It’s more than we could do on our own.

The few applicants that were declined were provided with feedback on how to improve their applications for re-submission.

Successful applicants include Mohikiuni-Lyell Backcountry Trust, Castle Hill Community Association, North Canterbury Cycling Club, Southland Mountain Bike Club, Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, Thames Mountain Bike Club, Mountainbikers of Alexandra, Queenstown Mountain Bike Club, Buller Cycling Club, Mountain Bike Trails Trust (Nelson) and Kauaeranga Mountain Bike Trails Trust. See below for a full list of recipients, projects and funding.

The remaining funding (approximately $50,000) will be available for application in February 2015.

A mountain biker tests out the new Hut Track reroute - Photo by John O'Malley

Work already underway

Castle Hill Community Association (CHCA) celebrated the news of its funding approval in style last weekend – with 28 volunteers turning out to a work party on Saturday, 8 November. The committed orgaqnisation – whose goal is to build an internationally recognised intermediate single-track mountain bike trail from Castle Hill, through Craigieburn Forest to Flock Hill Lodge – has a track record of success and a supportive group of volunteers. The association was pleased to find out its application for $14,990 for track maintenance and materials was successful.

“It’s great to see DOC partnering with organisations like Trail Fund NZ, which is a visible and knowledgeable advocate of sustainable, mountain bike-accessible trails,” says CHCA member Paul Weber.

Partnering with DOC isn’t a new concept for CHCA, which has worked closely with department for years as it gained approval for the network it’s been creating. As part of CCPF, DOC has transferred the maintenance of Hut Creek track to CHCA, which in turn has committed to upgrading it to dual-use walking and mountain biking track – and the recent work party has already made significant headway.

“CHCA has a strong volunteer programme for track maintenance; however, this funding will enable us to maintain a much greater number of tracks within the Craigieburn trails network for walking and biking,” says Paul. “One of these tracks is Hut Creek, which we managed to open up last weekend, thanks to the grant and hard work from volunteers!”

About Trail Fund NZ

Trail Fund NZ is a not-for-profit organisation, run solely by volunteers, which supports the development and maintenance of publicly available, environmentally sensitive and sustainable mountain bike-accessible trails in New Zealand.

Volunteers help out with Hut Track reroute - Photo by John O'Malley

For more information, please contact:

Meagan Robertson

Trail Fund NZ communications manager

meagan@dinniss.co.nz

 

For more information on the NZ Trail Consortium and details on what applicants were required to provide, visit http://hutsandtracks.org.nz/

 

 

 

Recipient Location Project details Allocated Funding
Mohikiuni- Lyell Backcountry Trust Old Ghost Road, West Coast Upgrading a 800m section – volunteer costs $5,428
Castle Hill Community Association Craigieburn Maintenance and materials $14,990
North Canterbury Cycling Club Wharfedale Track Upgrading and clearing $14,950
Southland MTB Club Percy Pass Upgrading tracks through surveying and markers $2,428
Rotorua MTB Club DOC trails around Rotorua – Rainbow Mt Okataina, Moerangi & Whirinaki Trail clearing $14,560
Thames MTB Club Build bridges and upgrade tracks $15,000
Mountainbikers of Alexandra Flat Top Hill, Alexandra Upgrade tracks – tools & signage $3,000
Queenstown MTB Club Fernhill Upgrade short piece of trail ‘The Missing Link’, which has a large impact on access, to dual-use $3,300
Kauaeranga MTB Trails Trust Thames Repair access road and ford 11821.18
Buller Cycling Club Kawatiri Beach Reserve, Westport Trail clearing 5106
MTB Trails Trust Hackett, Nelson Upgrading of dual-use trail 8,500