New manager for rail trail

Omakau businessman Colin Stevenson is the new Otago Rail Trail Trust manager.

Trust chairwoman Kate Wilson said he would replace Tania Murphy, who was stepping back after 26 years with the trust, including 17 years as manager.

Mr Stevenson had a long association with the rail trail through his community involvement and as a business owner.

He had a passion for community development and was keen to work with schools to foster opportunities to experience the rail trail adventure, Mrs Wilson said.

The trust was formed in 1994 to establish and develop the 150km trail from Middlemarch to Clyde, which opened in 2000.

Recognising the potential of the empty rail corridor, the Department of Conservation bought it in 1993. Local communities were approached and the idea of a rail trail modelled on overseas rails to trails projects was launched.