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Whitestone Cheese has signed on as the first ''section guardian'' of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail and will contribute to maintenance and upkeep of the Duntroon to Oamaru section until at least 2018.
Tourism Waitaki marketing manager Ian Elliott said the new initiative was launched as an opportunity for businesses and individuals to make a more ''significant and ongoing contribution'' to the cycle trail in its development period.
Simon and Annabel Berry, of Whitestone Cheese, announced their signing as guardians of Section 8: Duntroon to Oamaru yesterday.
Their contribution would include making improvements to the track, Mr Berry said.
The Duntroon to Oamaru section of trail runs through North Otago dairy country where Whitestone Cheese sources milk for its cheese.
''The direct correlation of this farming area to our raw material, combined with the tourism factor that is key to our wider economy is what drew us to supporting the initiative in this way.''
Mr and Mrs Berry said Alps 2 Ocean was one of the key tourist drivers for the region and encouraged other businesses to step up to ensure the long-term success of the trail.
''We're seeing the benefits already. It's putting North Otago on the map,'' Mr Berry said.
Mr Elliott said Tourism Waitaki was pleased to have its first track guardian.
There were plenty of other sections available, including some iconic scenic portions, ''which I'm sure will be an attraction to many local businesses ... who benefit from the trail development.''