Call for more tracks on public land

Antony Hamel
Antony Hamel
The Central Otago District Council should actively encourage the creation of mountain bike tracks on public land rather than rely on the goodwill of farmers to allow riders on their property, a Dunedin lawyer and guide book writer says.

Antony Hamel said he was disappointed to read Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper's comments that most outdoor enthusiasts relied on farmers' goodwill for recreational access.

"Given the amount of public land and the efforts of the Department of Conservation, there are numerous places in Central Otago that the public can go to without relying on private landowners' consent.

"The council needs to concentrate on developing recreational opportunities on this public land and not become distracted by informal access arrangements over private land.

"Why has the council not actively encouraged the creation of more mountain bike tracks on public land?"

Many mountain bike riders try the rail trail but want to do something more difficult, Mr Hamel said.

"There are other places that have never been developed. Something should have been done about this five years ago.

"An increasing number of mountain bikers are going to come to Central Otago and they will want to use tracks, so you can't just rely on informal access arrangements."

Doc Central Otago area manager Mike Tubbs said there were already many mountain bike opportunities available on Doc-administered land in the district and he was all for it being promoted and used.

Doc worked with the CODC, through the council's visitor centres, to inform people of their location.

"There is an extensive range of opportunities, from the rail trail to high-country traverses," Mr Tubbs said.

"There are no immediate plans for any more."


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