Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Wed 1/Jul/09 7:18am

Public submissions invited on new draft Kahurangi National Park management proposals

The public is being invited to comment on draft provisions in a partial review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan, including proposals to trial mountain biking on the Heaphy Track during the five-month winter visitor season and year-round on two other tracks.

People have until Friday 4 September to make submissions on proposed new provisions in the draft partially-reviewed Kahurangi National Park Management Plan which has been released today (1 July). Submissions can only be made on the five matters being reviewed which relate to mountain biking, aircraft, hunting and guided horse trekking access, and consideration of private or commercial accommodation on the Heaphy Track. They are matters that have arisen due to changes in circumstances or policy since the current park management plan came into effect in 2001.

The management plan guides and directs the Department of Conservation’s management of the national park. When the partial review provisions are finalised and approved, they will be incorporated into the existing Kahurangi National Park Management Plan and will be effective for the life of the plan.

DOC’s Nelson/Marlborough Conservator Neil Clifton said the draft partially-reviewed management plan contained proposals to trial mountain biking on the Heaphy Track from 1 May to 1 October each year and year-round on the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks.

“Numbers of people walking the Heaphy Track drop considerably in the May to October off-peak winter visitor season when the mountain biking trial on the track is proposed to run. Around 80 per cent of those walking the track do so in the October to April summer visitor season.

“The Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks generally have low levels of use by trampers. On the track from Flora Saddle to Upper Junction, walker numbers are higher, especially in summer, but the track is wide there enabling walkers and cyclists to pass each other safely.

“Given the shared use of these tracks, mountain bikers and walkers would need to show consideration for each other. Mountain bikers would be expected to maintain safe travelling speeds, to be aware of other users of the track, and to adhere to a nationally-recognised mountain bikers’ code of conduct.

“It is proposed that mountain bikers could ride in either direction on all three tracks. No more than six riders would be allowed in a group.

“Monitoring would take place to determine whether social and physical effects of the mountain biking are acceptable and if it should be allowed to continue. The monitoring would include assessing its impacts on the environment and any impacts on other people’s use and enjoyment of the tracks. Monitoring would also look at mountain bikers’ compliance with the code of conduct and other requirements.

“The draft plan contains provision to at any stage discontinue the mountain biking trial on any of the three tracks if monitoring during the trial shows the impacts of mountain biking are significant and/or unacceptable. Otherwise the trials would continue until the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan is fully reviewed.

“The mountain biking provisions in the draft reviewed management plan, along with other draft review provisions, are only proposals and the public have opportunity to comment on them through submissions. Hearings will also be held at which submitters can speak to their submissions.

“Public submissions will be taken into account in revising the draft reviewed plan for consideration by the Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board and then the New Zealand Conservation Authority which may make further modifications to it. Final approval of the reviewed plan lies with the conservation authority which would also seek comments on it from the Minister of Conservation.”

Mr Clifton said the draft partially-reviewed plan also contained proposals for managing aircraft landings in the park which were mainly for recreational activities including fishing, hunting, rafting, caving, and also for some commercial activities such as filming. All aircraft require a concession to land or take off from national parks and conservation areas.

“The draft plan provisions relating to aircraft access classify areas of the park into four landing zone types – frequent, restricted, remote, and Tasman Wilderness Area. A limit is proposed on the frequency of landings in each zone for recreational activities such as tramping, hunting and fishing taking into account factors such as natural and recreational values and the current level of landings occurring in each zone.

“Additional allowance is proposed for landings in the “frequent” and “restricted” zones associated with activities such as filming, rafting, kayaking, and caving which generally are one-off concessions that can involve several landings in a trip.

“The proposals are intended to enable a reasonable amount of aircraft use in the park to facilitate recreational and commercial activities while keeping aircraft disturbance to other users of the park at a tolerable level. They are also aimed at retaining the essential character of the park as remote, undeveloped and as a place of natural quiet.”

The review also considered whether private or commercial accommodation should be allowed on the Heaphy Track and it is proposed it should not be allowed.

“The current capacity of DOC huts and campsites appears to be meeting the demand for overnight accommodation on the track,” said Mr Clifton. “Also, the department’s online booking system enables management of numbers staying overnight in huts and at campsites to avoid overcrowding.”

“Additional accommodation would detract from the remote and undeveloped experience visitors can expect on the Heaphy Track.”

Copies of the draft partially-reviewed Kahurangi National Park Management Plan and submissions forms can be obtained from the DOC website http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involved ... -review/or from DOC offices or visitor centres in Nelson, Motueka, St Arnaud, Takaka, Westport, Karamea, and Hokitika.



Additional information

Heaphy Track visitor numbers; On average, approximately 4500 people walk the Heaphy Track each year.


Mountain biking
It is proposed mountain biking would not be allowed between dusk and dawn on the Heaphy Track. This is for the protection of the area’s wildlife and their habitat, including nocturnal giant Powelliphanta snails and great spotted kiwi/roa.

Consideration was also given as to whether mountain biking should be allowed on the Lake Sylvester Track. The popular and well-used track was not considered suitable for mountain biking particularly given its use by families, school groups and people gaining outdoors experience. Additionally, steeper sections of the track might be ridden downhill at high speed creating a hazard for walkers.

Under General Policy for National Parks in place when the current Kahurangi National Park Management Plan came into effect in 2001, mountain bikes were categorised as vehicles which were prohibited in national parks except on formed roads. In 2005 new General Policy for National Parks came in which now allows mountain biking in national parks on routes specified in national park management plans.


Aircraft access
It is proposed most of the park is zoned “restricted” landings and that the number of aircraft landings permitted in this zone for recreational activities such as tramping, fishing or hunting is limited to a maximum total of 520 aircraft landings a year and no more than 145 a month.

The Karamea Bend and Roaring Lion locations are proposed to be classified as a “frequent” landings zone reflecting the higher use in summer months of helicopters to fly people in to fish in these famous trout fishing areas. It is proposed to set a limit of a maximum total 265 aircraft landings a year for recreational activities and no more than 90 a month in this zone.

The draft reviewed plan proposes not allowing any aircraft landings in areas zoned “remote” to protect unique wilderness qualities and biodiversity values. Areas in the remote zone include the north-western coastline, the Heaphy Track, north of Mt Owen, around the Crow River and around the Cobb Valley and Mt Arthur Tableland.

It is proposed no aircraft landings would be allowed in the Tasman Wilderness Area other than for commercial recovery of deer or chamois under a wild animal control concession, search and rescue and conservation management purposes.
Hunting

It is proposed to reduce the period in which commercial helicopter deer hunting is prohibited in the Tasman Wilderness Area due to higher numbers of deer being seen in the area and heavy deer browse of palatable species. It is proposed the commercial hunting exclusion period would change from 1 December to 31 March, plus Easter, to 22 December to 5 January, plus Easter.

It is also proposed that for public safety reasons the Cobb Valley Flats and Mt Arthur Tableland areas would be closed to hunting in the summer months from 22 December to 9 February.

A 500 metre hunting exclusion area either side of the Heaphy and Wangapeka tracks is also proposed which is consistent with similar hunting exclusion corridors in Nelson Lakes and Abel Tasman national parks.


Horse trekking access
In recent years there has been an issue of safety for horse and riders on guided horse treks in using the narrow and winding Wharariki Road to access Puponga Farm Park. It is proposed in the draft reviewed plan to allow concessionaire guided horse trekking on a specified route across a small part of the national park land and adjacent conservation land to access the farm park. The route follows the remains of an old stock route and tracks used for coal mining.
Melissa_Theuriau
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Tama on Wed 1/Jul/09 10:10am

DoC wrote:Consideration was also given as to whether mountain biking should be allowed on the Lake Sylvester Track. The popular and well-used track was not considered suitable for mountain biking particularly given its use by families, school groups and people gaining outdoors experience. Additionally, steeper sections of the track might be ridden downhill at high speed creating a hazard for walkers.

I'm pretty sure Lake Sylvester "Track" is functionally a wide gravel road with excellent visibility. I can remember thinking that I'd of easily been able to drive the Hearse up there last time we were in that part of the park.

Can anyone confirm/ deny this?
Tama
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby gordster on Wed 1/Jul/09 10:13am

yes, it is an old road that was built as part of the Cobb power project and goes up the lake.
Last time I rode the Heaphy DOC had upgraded it to take quad bikes. Maybe we can get DonKey to make it part of his national 'cycleway' and then get it upgraded to a road..
gordster
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Laurence on Wed 1/Jul/09 11:51am

MTBNZ submission template.

Hi there

The Heaphy Track is reckoned by many to be the best long distance singletrack ride in New Zealand. And the Department of Conservation has just (as in today) released its Draft Partial Review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan. The Plan proposes to trial seasonal access for mountain bikes on the Heaphy from 1 May to 1 October each year. And general access for mountain bikes on the Kill Devil and Flora Saddle-Barron Flat tracks.

This is great news and the 'rules of engagement' detailed in the plan are consistent with what Mountain Bike NZ has lobbied for over the past 15 years.

There is wide spread support for this change. In 2005 the NZ Conservation Authority changed the General Policy for National Parks to allow for mountain bike access on selected tracks in National Parks. This decision was backed by an overwhelming majority of submissions. Of the 1305 received, 1106 supported the change while just 22 opposed. Support came from organisations with a wide variety of interests including many Conservation Boards and tramping clubs. Support included:
• Federated Mountain Clubs
• SPARC
• the Nelson/Marlborough, West Coast, Waikato and Southland Conservation Boards
• the Tasman, Buller and Nelson Councils
• the Golden Bay, Motueka and Waimea Tramping Clubs
• NZ Alpine Club
• and Mountain Bike NZ.

The Cycleway Project led by our Prime Minister and vocal support for bikes on the Heaphy from Nelson MP Nick Smith all add political clout. But there are plenty of individuals and groups who oppose the change. So it's vital that mountain bikers and others who support seasonal access to the Heaphy make submissions in quantity and quality.

Pedal on

Guy Wynn-Williams and Bryce Buckland
MTBNZ Land Access

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO . . .

1. Write a submission
If you have the time and confidence, a personal submission is the most powerful way of influencing the outcome.
Some important points to support in your submission are:
• Section 4.1.A “Mountain Biking” in the Draft Partial Review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan, allowing mountain biking on the Heaphy, Kill Devil and Flora Saddle-Barron Flat tracks.
• The 1 May to 1 October season for mountain biking the Heaphy.
• General access for mountain biking the Kill Devil and Flora Saddle-Barron Flat tracks.
• Adherence to the Mountain Bikers’ Code.
• The preclusion of heli-biking.
• And the other ‘Implementations’ detailed in section 4.1.A.12
• You should also indicate your support for the position being taken by Mountain Bike NZ (MTBNZ submission will be able to be viewed at http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/projects/heaphy.htm).


2. Send a' Form Submission'
If you can’t, or don’t want to write a submission in your own words, there’s a ‘form submission’ attached at the end of this document that you can just sign and send. Weight of numbers alone won’t win this one, but it sure helps.


3. Get your friends and relations to write submissions
Mountain biking networks can be a bit loose, so it’s important to get the word out and motivate the cynics and chronically disorganised. Don’t just stop at mountain biking friends, clubs and businesses. Ours is a cause that most reasonable people will support when they consider the evidence, and the opinions of people who don’t mountain bike can count for a lot. The opinions of conservationists and trampers are especially important.


Send your submission to:
Kahurangi National Park Management Plan Partial Plan
Department of Conservation
Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042

e-mail to: kahurangi@doc.govt.nz or fill ion the online form at http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involved ... ssion-form

Closing date is Friday 4 September 2009

SOME POINTS THAT MIGHT HELP WITH YOUR SUBMISSION

Declare your enthusiasm for Section 4.1.A “Mountain Biking” in the Draft Partial Review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan.

The Heaphy is a unique multi-day backcountry ride that has no equal in New Zealand – 82km of singletrack traversing from coast to coast through diverse landscapes and vegetation. It is to mountain bikers what the Milford Track is to walkers.

The potential for conflict between trampers and bikers on the Heaphy is minimised through the proposed May to October season – with less than 20% of the current visitors walking the track during that off-peak period.

There are good sight-distances and the trail is sufficiently technical to ensure low speeds on most sections. Potential for conflict is further reduced by limiting group size to six riders or less; the promotion of responsible riding through the Mountain Bikers’ Code; and precluding heli-biking on the track.

The Heaphy’s track surface is robust making it durable to the impacts of both boots and tyres. The proposed winter season records lower rainfall than the spring and early summer when wet, nor-west weather conditions often prevail.

The minority of walkers that still prefer to avoid cyclists can do so easily given the proposed season and the large number of other (walking-only) tracks available within Kahurangi and throughout the country.

Although technically challenging the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat track has in the past been a popular day ride for experienced, fit riders. The Kill Devil is both physically and technically demanding. It is unlikely to ever be a popular ride but is nonetheless rewarding for the few with the fitness and skills to tackle it.

The Draft Plan’s provision for allowing mountain biking on the Heaphy, Kill Devil and Flora Saddle-Barron Flat tracks provides a special opportunity to attract new (mainly younger) users into Kahurangi National Park… and enable them to experience our backcountry in a wholesome, self-reliant manner.
HeaphySubTemplate.doc
Editable submission template
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Laurence
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby thorg on Wed 1/Jul/09 12:11pm

This is as close as we have ever got to getting legal access back.

PUT YOUR SUBMISSION IN TODAY!

get your mom to write one as well, you brother, sister and father as well. Even if they dont ride, they can say how great it would be for NZ tourism etc.

Well, have you put in a submission yet?
thorg
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby hickie on Wed 1/Jul/09 12:20pm

thorg wrote:This is as close as we have ever got to getting legal access back.

PUT YOUR SUBMISSION IN TODAY!

get your mom to write one as well, you brother, sister and father as well. Even if they dont ride, they can say how great it would be to get you out of the house

Well, have you put in a submission yet?


fixed for you Thorg :D :D

Be nice if they let us in in March/April though to share some of the nicer weather. It would be a bummer to organise a mid winter trip from the N.I., arranging leave etc, only to have one of the regular nasty storms ruin it for you :satan:

(is this a long enough submission, cause I can copy and pates it, without the satan of course...)
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Laurence on Wed 1/Jul/09 12:39pm

Be nice if they let us in in March/April though to share some of the nicer weather. It would be a bummer to organise a mid winter trip from the N.I., arranging leave etc, only to have one of the regular nasty storms ruin it for you :satan:


Weather-wise Winter is perfect for the West Coast. The period of May - Oct has been specifically identified as a dry weather season. ie. no nor'west winds. Any wet patches along the tops will likely be frozen!
Laurence
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby RHR_Rob on Wed 1/Jul/09 1:18pm

hickie wrote:
thorg wrote:This is as close as we have ever got to getting legal access back.

PUT YOUR SUBMISSION IN TODAY!

get your mom to write one as well, you brother, sister and father as well. Even if they dont ride, they can say how great it would be to get you out of the house

Well, have you put in a submission yet?


fixed for you Thorg :D :D

Be nice if they let us in in March/April though to share some of the nicer weather. It would be a bummer to organise a mid winter trip from the N.I., arranging leave etc, only to have one of the regular nasty storms ruin it for you :satan:



just buy yourself a nice waterproof jacket :sly:
RHR_Rob
Member for: 13 years 9 months

Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Sickman on Thu 2/Jul/09 3:38am

Laurence wrote:
Be nice if they let us in in March/April though to share some of the nicer weather. It would be a bummer to organise a mid winter trip from the N.I., arranging leave etc, only to have one of the regular nasty storms ruin it for you :satan:


Weather-wise Winter is perfect for the West Coast. The period of May - Oct has been specifically identified as a dry weather season. ie. no nor'west winds. Any wet patches along the tops will likely be frozen!


As a Westport local, I can confirm Laurence is correct in that we have our some of our best weather during May-Sept. Currently while the rest of the country has been been having bad weather for the last 3 weeks (especially in CHCH) it has been clear skies with rather crisp mornings with great after work riding conditions. Us locals actually do most of our MTB riding during winter as summer time is our road bike season and time for long tramping missions. Spring is the wettest time of the year in the Buller region when we get the Nor'west rain. We get nasty storms anytime of the year but Spring/Summer probably the worst for that. Our winters are pretty mild (especially compared to CHCH) and normally only get a couple of frosts in Westport.
The weather will be good just take a rain coat.

But in saying that I would be keen for them to extend the season to include March/April (but excluding Easter Weekend) so we have longer drylight hours. For me personally I am keen to cycle in with a light weekend pack and gun for some hunting on the hard to get to tops durin that period.
Sickman
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby poundme on Sat 4/Jul/09 6:21am

As A Golden Bay Local I no that April/Easter is the busiest time for trampers on the Heaphy and if you are asking for a extented season above and beyond what is already preposed in the Management plan, November would be better altough it is spring and traditionally wet,Altough we can get some big high pressure systems sitting over us for extended dry spells in late spring early summer.
It is really important that your voice is heard regards this Submission because we may not get another chance for at least 5 years.
The Kahurangi NP Management plan is been reviewed in 2011 but the Conservation Management Strategy for KNP will be dealt with first and this may take a few years!
So if you want access to the Heaphy back put pen to paper and submit your submissions!
poundme
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Trail on Tue 7/Jul/09 8:52pm

So... anyone who has not submitted a submission on the draft plan is not allowed to whinge if bikers do not get allowed into Kahurangi!!! :sly:

Have you got your submission in yet??
Trail
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby thorg on Wed 8/Jul/09 7:18am

Trail wrote:So... anyone who has not submitted a submission on the draft plan is not allowed to whinge if bikers do not get allowed into Kahurangi!!! :sly:

Have you got your submission in yet??
Sooooooooooo close. (to getting access, not putting in a submission - that of course, was done ages ago)
thorg
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Trail on Wed 8/Jul/09 8:26am

thorg wrote:
Trail wrote:So... anyone who has not submitted a submission on the draft plan is not allowed to whinge if bikers do not get allowed into Kahurangi!!! :sly:

Have you got your submission in yet??
Sooooooooooo close. (to getting access, not putting in a submission - that of course, was done ages ago)



I know, I cant wait to be able to ride Flora to Baron flat (legally :lol: )
Trail
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Trail on Thu 16/Jul/09 12:10pm

Mmmm biking in Kahurangi.

Got your submission in yet??
Trail
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Re: Submissions Needed For Mountain Biking In Kahurangi

Postby Kazmeistyr on Thu 16/Jul/09 12:43pm

Hmmmm....

A fantastical 1-2 week holiday on the coast.....

Day 1 - Do a pub crawl in Westport, 13 odd pubs in a little over a 1 km stretch...mmm, jugs of beer for about 6 bucks.
Day 2 - Recover. Go to Buller Cafe ( Tony's to the locals) and have the best fush and chups evereverer ( hope they still cook in full of fat stylez)
Day 3 - Hit Tauranga Bay for a surf ( take a leap of Jesus Rock is always a hoot)
Day 4 - Head to Karamea ( hell ride it if you are keen). EAT WHITEBAIT PATTIES!!!
Day 5 - hit the heaphy
Day 6 - Lounge about at the Heaphy Hut
Day 7 - More heaphy goodness
Day 8 - Turn around and go back the other way!

Could always take an extra day or two to do some caving /abseiling/more beer consumption/more surfing/etc. etc.

If using a hire car, take to "mudflats" at end of Derby St in Westport and do 140 km/h handbrake slides.

Sounds like a good holiday to me.

And somebody should get off their chuff and build a DH track from Mt Rochfort, and use the Unimogs for mad shuttles.
Kazmeistyr
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