Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park Supporters have announced an ambitious plan to build a 68 metre suspension bridge as part of a new 1100 metre uphill track.
The bridge will traverse a steep sided gully and is expected to quickly become a major attraction for mountain bikers, walkers and runners when built in 2016.
Simon Kennett, Chair of the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park Supporters (the Supporters) says their objective is to make climbing to the 412m summit of Makara Peak a world class experience.
“This will be the first major suspension bridge built in an urban mountain bike park in New Zealand and will provide a unique experience just 20 minutes from downtown Wellington.”
The suspension bridge and new uphill track will provide a more appealing and accessible route to the summit than the current options – particularly for intermediate users with average skills and fitness.
“We’ve seen riders of all ages climbing to the summit to ride Peakflow which has been massively popular since it opened in March. This new track and suspension bridge will make the experience far more enjoyable and memorable” says Mr Kennett.
The Supporters kicked off fundraising efforts at their annual general meeting in August, with an auction of old park signage raising more than six and a half thousand dollars.
"Fundraising is off to a great start, with the auction and an extremely generous $45,000 donation from one of our supporters. We've also raised more than $7000 on our Give A Little page” says Mr Kennett.
“As a volunteer organisation, we’re reliant on people’s good will and support. It’s going to be a big job to raise approximately $130,000 to build the suspension bridge, and then around 1000 hours of volunteer work to build the track. So any contributon is welcome” says Mr Kennett.
Park users and people interested in supporting the suspension bridge and climbing track can make a donation at http://givealittle.co.nz/cause/makarapeak, join the Supporters at www.makarapeak.org, or volunteer for a work party via their Facebook page.
More details about the new track:
The track will meet the New Zealand Cycle Trail design guidelines for an intermediate grade track.
It will climb gradually from the recently completed first stage of Three Brothers, shadowing the existing “snakecharmer” four-wheel drive access road, before crossing the suspension bridge and connecting with the upper portion of Aratahi.
This will complete an intermediate grade climb from the car park to the summit, where it will link up with the recently opened intermediate grade descent Peakflow.
Who will build the suspension bridge?
With the agreement of Wellington City Council, The Supporters have engaged Abseil Access who have extensive experience designing and building suspension bridges including recently completed bridges on the Old Ghost Road in the upper West Coast.
About Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park:
Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park is a 250ha scenic reserve in Wellington's Outer Green Belt and is a Wellington City Council (WCC) owned asset that is managed and developed by volunteers through the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park Supporters (the Supporters).
The Supporters were established in 1998 and are made up of mountain bikers, walkers, runners, conservationists and members of the local community with the goal of developing Makara Peak into a world-class mountain bike park with dual use tracks (for cyclists and walkers), in a restored native forest.
The Supporters are responsible for managing and developing Makara Peak Mountain Bike park, including maintaining more than 35km of walking and mountain biking single tracks, building of new tracks, conservation activities including pest control and an extensive planting programme to help regenerate the park as well as fundraising and coordinating events.