Mountain bikers will now need to join Bike Taupō to use the Craters Mountainbike Park in Wairakei Forest.
The membership fee will be used to fund the maintenance of the park and the wider trail system, including the Great Lake Trail and the upper Waikato River Trails. The fee will also help Bike Taupō’s very successful Kids Bike Taupō program.
The membership fee comes into effect from January 1st 2014
Chair person of Bike Taupō Rowan Sapsford says that while this is a huge change for Taupō, it is being done for the right reasons and will result in better long term management of the park and Bike Taupō’s wider track network.
Currently everyone who uses the park should be Bike Taupō members as this is a condition of the permit that Bike Taupō holds to build and operate the trails. All members will be covered by Bike Taupō’s public liability insurance, which is a must when using a managed forest such as the Park.
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) who manage the land that the park is on, granted Bike Taupō the permit. LINZ wants to make sure that all users are covered by Bike Taupō’s permit says Naomi Bray, from Colliers International (property managers for LINZ).
Rowan says this is something that Bike Taupō have not taken lightly or rushed into. “It is a major change for both locals and visitors alike. The park has been free to access for 10 years, but the charges will now mean more certainty for trail maintenance and development.”
“Bike Taupō is a community organisation that survives on grants and donations.
The job of building and maintaining our 250km track network is massive. The subscriptions program will give us a more dependable income stream to ensure that tracks can continue to be built and maintained,” he says.
Rowan explained that the storm in March last year was a huge wake up call for the community organisation.
“The cost of repairing that damage has been significant and even now 18 months after the event, we do not have the park back to the level it was prior to the storm.”
The membership fee will be in place from 1 Jan 2014, and will apply to all users including walkers and runners. The fee will be $60 per year for a family, $40 for individuals, $5 for 5-18 year olds (under 5’s free) and $10 for a 7 day pass for casual users.
Memberships will be available online at www.bikeTaupō.org.nz from December 1st and be able to be purchased from Heli Sika Adventure Flights, the Taupō ISite and all Taupō bike shops. All members will be provided with tags to attach to their bikes or shoes which will need to be visible at all times. Tracks outside the park, such as the upper Waikato river trails and the Great Lake Trail will remain free to use.