The no entry sign at Shardland Rd.

Trespassing riders told to own up

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The Nelson Mountainbike Club will this week start naming and shaming riders who trespassed into an active logging area on private forestry land in the Maitai Valley.

Tasman Pine informed the club last month that a number of mountain bikers have been ignoring the no entry signs and tape at the entrance to a logging site on Sharlands Rd.

The majority of the club’s tracks are built on Tasman Pine land and club secretary Paul Jennings says they are concerned that the trespassers are not only putting lives at risk but also jeopardising future access to the tracks.

“Tasman Pine is understandably concerned that people are accessing areas that are a safety risk and are putting lives in danger,” Paul says. “They are really keen to work with the club and keep the land open for recreation but, at the same time, they are in a high-risk health and safety industry and there’s no mucking around with that.”

The club has notified their members through the club’s e-newsletters, website and Facebook page that the tracks in that area are closed due to logging. However, a small number of riders have been recorded on security cameras in the restricted area and can be clearly identified in the images.
The club has asked riders who trespassed in the area “to put their hand up” and Paul says they got a good response with about 90 per cent of the riders contacting the club. Those riders received a four-week ban from all trails on  Tasman Pine land and were “thanked for coming forward”.

However, Paul says there are still some riders who haven’t come forward and the club plans to post their security camera images on their website this week. If those riders subsequently contact the club, they will receive an eight-week ban from the trails and will have to reapply for their permits to ride on Tasman Pine land.

“If riders don’t come forward after that, Tasman Pine will be looking for them,” Paul says. “But I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Paul concedes that “there may be a genuine lack of knowledge out there with some people” who trespassed on the closed trails. He says the club can’t communicate with all mountain bikers so “it’s understandable that some people don’t realise the trails are closed”.

However, Paul says it’s usually clear that trails are closed due to logging because “there’s tape or no entry signs and cut down trees everywhere” and riders need to take responsibility for their own safety.

“It’s pretty easy read the signs and read the emails and if you are not sure don’t go in – there are plenty of other trails to ride. Tasman Pine has been really positive about recreation in their forest which is great because they could put up a big gate and sign saying no entry.

“We are really lucky to have them and that they get what we do. It’s a good relationship and we don’t want to ruin it.”

Paul also points out that riders still need a permit to ride on any of the tracks on Tasman Pine land. Permits are automatically issued to riders when they join the Nelson Mountainbike Club or they can be purchased independently.

The club wants riders who think they trespassed on the land to send their name, a description of their bike and helmet colour, so it can be matched to the security camera image, to [email protected]