Yet again, Trail Fund NZ distributed more than anticipated to mountain bike clubs around the country. This was largely thanks to merchandise sales and financial contributions from its ‘1% for Trails’ sponsors, who donate 1% of their revenue to Trail Fund NZ for the purpose of supporting trail development projects around New Zealand.
Instead of allocating up to $2,000 to three recipients as planned, Trail Fund NZ offered grants to four deserving recipients to help them further their trail building goals.
“With eight deserving projects on the table, it was a tough choice for our advisory board, and we couldn’t help but offer funding to a fourth project,” says Trail Fund NZ chairperson Russel Garlick. “However, we wish we could have supported all eight and hope that support for our fundraising endeavours make this a possibility in the future.”
This round’s recipients have a common theme – all of the funding is being used to improve existing trail networks, either by repairing damage caused by natural disasters, or creating alternative routes due to traffic or unsustainable trail features.
Gravity Canterbury – Christchurch
Gravity Canterbury received $2,000 towards to help revitalize two intermediate trails in Victoria Park, a mainstay of Christchurch mountain biking for generations of riders.
“The park, which is supported by the local ranger service and dedicated and enthusiastic local riders, has a solid network of descending trails, predominantly catering for advanced to expert riders,” says club member Nicholas Sutcliffe.
“While these expert trails are loved and maintained by a cross section of riders, the park is noticeably lacking in intermediate trails. The all-too-brief existence of the Christchurch Adventure Park demonstrated the considerable demand in Christchurch for flowing intermediate trails, and the issues around their black/advanced jump line also demonstrated the demand and need for an intermediate jump line.”
With this in mind, the club intends to upgrade Shazzas Track, a once-intermediate flow track that has needs to be brought back to intermediate level, and Cool Runnings, a jump track requiring a new start and a redesign to make it suitable for intermediate riders.
“Developing these trails will broaden the park’s appeal across a greater spectrum of rider abilities and will help fill the void left by the Christchurch Adventure Parks unfortunate and early demise,” says Nicholas.
Pohutukawa Coast Bike Club – East Auckland
The Pohutukawa Coast Bike Club, based in East Auckland, received $2,000 to remedy water damage caused by the “one in a hundred” year storm in March. Two favourite tracks in the Mareitai forest, Screamers and lower Tunnel Vision, were badly hit and the funding will cover the extensive repairs required.
Te Miro MTB Club - Waikato
Te Miro Mountain Bike Club received a grant to re-route sections of the popular Gobbler Knob track, which is one of the most popular trails in Te Miro MTB Park. However, it was built before the club was formed and therefore includes several features that are unsustainable.
To avoid spending any more volunteer hours re-fixing the same sections, the club has arranged for a professional trail builder to re-route the problematic areas.
“We will also take this opportunity to have the trail builder tidy up small sections of trail camber and build up a few new berms, breathing new life into a well-loved and well-used trail,” says Te Miro MTB Club member Gary Campbell.
Castle Hill Community Association - Canterbury
Castle Hill Community Association, which is responsible for building and maintaining the trails in the popular Craigieburn area, received a grant to help kick start the building of a new trail in the area.
The new track, referred to as Hogs Back Easy Up, will provide an alternative mountain bike route from Castle Hill village to Craigieburn Forest Park, which is currently connected by the scenic but very busy Hogs Back Track. Ideally, building an alternative will take some traffic off the original track, reducing any possible user conflict, reducing the need for mountain bikers to use SH73 and road traffic and wear on the Cheeseman Ski Field access road.