Trail Fund NZ distributes $75,000 to trails around New Zealand

Trail Fund NZ distributes $75,000 to trails around New Zealand

Trail Fund NZ invests $75 ,000 in volunteer-led trail projects around New Zealand

Trail Fund NZ is pleased to announce that five groups from around the country will receive approximately $75,000 in total to support volunteer-led trail work in New Zealand’s backcountry. From Thames to Canterbury, 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 $500,000 grant from the Department of Conservation’s Community Fund, which is managed by the NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium. The Consortium is comprised of three not-for-profit organisations – Federated Mountain Clubs, New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association and Trail Fund NZ.

“This is the second year that funding has been made available and Trail Fund NZ is thrilled to be part of a partnership that is leveraging volunteer’s passion and hard work with the funding required,” says Trail Fund NZ chairperson Ben Wilde.

“These grants are geared towards giving backcountry users greater ownership of the facilities they care passionately about and it’s great to have so many applicants keen to take advantage of the opportunity. We were pleased to fund or partly-fund the majority of the requests.

“Thanks to this funding, the Great Lake Trail in Taupo continues to head west up the Waihaha and, on the other side of the lake, the Te Iringa trail – which heads into the Kaimanawas – provides great backcountry riding.”

The Department of Conservation was also pleased to see such great projects being funded.

“We’re thrilled to see how well the Consortium continues to work with user groups around the country, and the effort they’ve put into funding quality proposals,” said DOC recreation manager Andy Thompson.

“The aim 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.”

Successful applicants include Thames Mountain Bike Club, North Canterbury Cycling Club, Bike Taupo, Hawkes Bay MTB Club and Rotorua Trails Trust. See below for a full list of recipients, projects and funding.

Trail Fund is still working with another applicant to potentially fund their project.

Work already underway on Te Iringa

Deep in Kaimanawa Forest Park, with neither a berm nor flattop to be found, there exists a hidden gem of adventure. Starting 40km from the nearest town, the 38km return, out-and-back, Te Iringa trail offers a challenging and exhilarating ride through ancient, untouched forest.

Following an old Maori route, the Grade 4 / 5 trail has been a ‘must do’ tramping track for years. The Department of Conservation finally opened it to mountain bikers two years ago as a trial. Since then, the combined efforts of the Hawkes Bay Mountain Bike, Taupo Mountain Bike and Bike Taupo clubs have been hard at work, with help from sponsors and Trail Fund NZ, making the trail less hike and more bike.

“The trail, which had already been dubbed a ‘favourite’ for many adventurous riders thanks to its rewarding and technical terrain, saw a vast improvement in rideability earlier in 2015 thanks to the first grant it received from Community Fund through Trail Fund,” says Carl Larsen of the Hawkes Bay Mountain Bike Club.

“We managed to complete a significant amount of work including clearing windfall, opening up ruts, clearing old slips, cutting back brush and putting water control in place.”

Since the clean up, feedback has been extremely positive, prompting the clubs to carry out further work on the backcountry track.

“The first grant allowed us to clean up the trail from the carpark through to the Tikitiki Stream crossing, which is just over the halfway point,” says Larsen.

“Thanks to a second Community Fund grant of $15,000, we are planning to complete the job all the way through to the hut, making it more feasible for mountain bikers to complete the entire track and/or take advantage of the overnight option.”

With giant roots, loamy soil and some inner encouragement required, this relatively secret backcountry trail is worth the effort.

“Te Iringa is, and will remain, an epic adventure ride,” says Larsen.