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Donations from cyclists assist Heaphy Track upgrade work

May 1st, 2012

Mountain bikers and walkers will now have a smoother trip over an eroded section of the Heaphy Track thanks to $10,500 in donations from Nelson mountain bikers and some national mountain biking businesses to support the Department of Conservation track improvement work.

The Nelson Mountain Bike Club donated $5000 and another $5500 was contributed by mountain biking businesses for materials for the upgrade last month of parts of a 3.5-kilometre section of the track in the Mackay Hill area. The donation enabled DOC to carry out the work sooner than programmed. Businesses that donated funds were Ground Effect, Sheppard Industries, W H Worrall, Hyperformance Hardware and PRV.

Mountain bikers will get their first chance to experience the improvement from today (1 May) as this year's winter-season mountain biking trial begins on the 78-kilometre Kahurangi National Park track, running till Sunday 30 September.

DOC Buller-Kawatiri Area Manager Bob Dickson said the track surface in the Mackay Hill area was uneven and muddy due to water damage from heavy rainfall.

'We are trying out a stabilising recycled-plastic matting, JakMat, in this area which we hope will provide more resilience. Aggregate was spread to build up the track with the JakMat laid over it and topped with finer gravel.

'We are very grateful to the Nelson Mountain Bike Club and the mountain biking businesses for their generosity and support. Track users will appreciate a less jarring ride and walk over this section of track.'

Nelson Mountain Bike Club President Chris Mildon said the club welcomed being able to contribute to improving the Heaphy experience and the donation reflected the high status held for the track by the off-road riding community.

'Together with other bike industry donations, being able to contribute to upgrading the MacKay Hill section of the trail using modern and more sustainable techniques is a privilege for the club and one that will benefit all Heaphy users in the long term - not just riders during this initial trial.

'We are all looking forward to another successful riding season in 2012, and seeing the benefits of these much needed upgrades.'

The new track surface in the MacKay Hill area is among a number of improvements walkers and bikers will be encountering on the Heaphy Track as part of a DOC programme of upgrades in line with the standards set for the track as a Great Walk.

A new Perry Saddle Hut is close to completion and should open later this month and a new Heahy Hut is being built which is expected to open later this year. The old huts at these sites are still in use in the meantime.

New swing bridges have been put in over Swan Burn and Gunner River and other track maintenance and improvement work has been carried out.

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