A mountainbiker crosses a bridge on the Heaphy Track.

Heaphy Track mountainbiking could be extended

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The proposed amendment to the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan has been considered by the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board, and the board is recommending to the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) that the mountain bike season on the Heaphy Track be extended to cover May 1 to 30 November each year.

Board chair Bob Dickinson says the board supports a two-month extension to the end of the season to promote more use of the Heaphy Track, and to provide mountain bikers with more opportunity to ride the track outside of the winter months. A proposed extension to the beginning of the season was not supported due to higher walker numbers in April. This also retains walker-only access through Easter and the April school holidays.

The board also requested that DOC print the Mountain Bikers Code onto the hut booking receipt for bikers, and continue to promote shared use track etiquette on the Heaphy Track.

Bobs says there is also merit in clarifying that electric bikes are not allowed on the Heaphy Track and that the board is recommending this be done through the plan and national park bylaws, as well as through visitor information.

The NZCA makes the final decision on the plan amendment, and will consider the board’s recommendations at its February meeting.

Until a decision is made by the NZCA, it will only be possible to book mountain bikes on the Heaphy Track during the May to September season in 2017