Trail blazing initiative to boost recreation opportunities

A trail building revolution is underway in New Zealand as planners, managers and hardworking volunteers join forces to create new tracks catering for increasing demand from communities and tourists.

Leaders of this trail building movement will meet at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton on Tuesday 29 November to explore opportunities to create and link trails into the great outdoors, and between regions.

The Trail Leaders Workshop, organised by the New Zealand Walking Access Commission and the New Zealand Recreation Association, will bring together non-government organisations, community groups, councils and government agencies from the north of Auckland to Taupo and across to Opotiki.

New Zealand Walking Access chief executive Eric Pyle said the workshop was designed to bring together many of the leaders of the trails movement to share ideas and experiences.

“There is a real willingness among many government and non-government groups around the country to share information, look for synergies and collectively find solutions to improve and strengthen access across New Zealand,” he said.

“At the moment, leaders and planners in the North Island are taking some exciting, tangible steps, and we expect this movement to gain momentum and to extend to other regions.”

Many councils, national organisations and community groups from the north of Auckland to Taupo and across to Opotiki are currently actively developing, promoting and managing walking, cycling and horse riding trails.

Among the participants at the Hamilton workshop will be Olympic gold medalist Sarah Ulmer, who is a New Zealand Cycle Trail board member, and Kiwi marathon legend Allison Roe, Chair of Matakana Trails Trust.

New Zealand Recreation Association chief executive Andrew Leslie said the workshop would help to build a community of trail developers and managers in the central-upper North Island.

“Working closely with the New Zealand Walking Access Commission allows us to more effectively bring central and local government planners together with non-government organisations and community groups to create meaningful recreation opportunities in New Zealand.”