As mentioned at last year’s Trail Fund NZ conference, Recreation Aotearoa (previously New Zealand Recreation Association) has been working with organisations and trail builders around the country to develop national trail construction guidelines.
The guidelines, released earlier this year, provide a detailed and defined specification for new MTB trails for each grade, including suggested trail width, gradients and features. It can also be used as a template for the maintenance and auditing of existing trails.
“As we are well aware, mountain biking as a sport continues to grow in popularity and, as such, trail development around the country has increased significantly in recent years,” says Trail Fund co-chairperson Russel Garlick.
“Projects are no longer being driven solely by volunteers – land managers such as DOC, iwi, local and regional councils and even private landowners are managing trail building projects. As a result, some project managers or engineers managing these builds have no background in the sport and, until now, no documented reference as to how trails ‘should’ be built and graded. In this instance, some fall back to what they consider the closest – a walking specification – which doesn’t create great mountain bike trails.
“Until this point, there has been no official document available to help guide trail development. We see these guidelines as a great reference tool for volunteers and land managers alike – not a stipulation of exactly how trails should be built.”
Recreation Aotearoa hopes the new guidelines will be well received by the industry.
“The guidelines are intended to help all parties develop and clarify their understanding of the creative elements that go into delivering a fun trail experience, at each of the six different grades of difficulty,” says Recreation Aotearoa chief executive Andrew Leslie.
“Any organisation involved with developing, building, maintaining or auditing a trail is encouraged to use these guidelines - with the overriding goal of NZ having a level of consistency and continuity around trail grading to ensure a fantastic user experience.”
The guidelines are designed to evolve alongside the sport, and Recreation Aotearoa is open to feedback on the contents of the document. Please feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll pass along your feedback. Email us on email@example.com .
Read the guidelines HERE
Photo by Visualsby.me