Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today announced that the Department of Conservation (DOC) will close 21 tracks across kauri land to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback.
An additional 10 tracks will also be partially closed and the open sections upgraded to eliminate wet and muddy sections of track and better protect the roots of kauri trees.
“As there is currently no proven cure for kauri dieback, the best way to protect our kauri is to slow and stop the disease from spreading,” Eugenie Sage said.
“The Department is closing or partially closing tracks in Kaitaia, the Kauri Coast, Whangarei, on Aotea/Great Barrier Island, in Hauraki, Waikato, and Tauranga. The track closures are permanent and will be monitored.
“I appreciate some people may be disappointed by the closure of a favourite track but I strongly encourage everyone do the right thing and respect the track closures to reduce the risk to kauri forests.”
The decision was made after public consultation, and the majority of public submissions favoured closure. DOC has closed tracks in the past to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.
“Closures may be reconsidered in the future if additional science and other information provide certainty that public access would not cause any risk to kauri,” Eugenie Sage said.
“Although protecting kauri is the key focus, the Department did consider the need to maintain recreation opportunities and there are still many walking and tramping options available in nearby areas.”
In consultation with local communities and iwi, DOC is continuing work to establish next steps for the remaining tracks on kauri land that have not yet been upgraded. This will include their upgrade, closure or partial closure.
Note to media:
Tracks have been closed or partially closed where there is:
High kauri dieback risk
Low visitor numbers
High upgrade and maintenance cost
A similar recreational experience is available in the vicinity.
For the 10 partially closed tracks, a section of the track will be permanently closed while the rest of the track is upgraded to eliminate wet and muddy sections and protect kauri roots.