3 May 2009

National park track opened to mountainbikers

7:21 am on 3 May 2009

A section of the popular Abel Tasman National Park has been opened to mountainbikers for the first time.

As part of a two year trial, a 10km stretch of the park's walking track, between Totaranui and Wainui Bay, can now be used for cycling.

The track at the northern end of the park, will be open to mountainbikers until the off-peak season finishes in October.

The Department of Conservation plans to monitor effects on the environment, and on other people who use the track, before deciding whether mountainbiking will be allowed every winter.

The area, known as Gibb's Hill track, is the first national park track in the Nelson region to be opened to mountainbikers.

The department says the move follows a change to national policy, which allows mountain biking on specified national park routes.