Mountain biking activities will be permitted on some trails in the Nelson / Tasman region from Tuesday, 28 April, following the Government’s announcement that the country will move to COVID-19 Alert Level Three after the ANZAC Day weekend.
All trails on Nelson City Council owned land will reopen, including the Coppermine Trails, from 12pm on 28 April. Trails on Tasman District Council owned land will be open from the morning of 28 April. The Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park will also be opening access to some trails, more information is available on their website(external link).
In addition, Ngāti Koata has made the decision to open a limited area of their forestry land for access to users who have a valid permit. Riders will be able to access the Fireball skid, and ride Firball, IV Line and Hulk’n Hogan trails.
All other Ngāti Koata areas will remain closed to all recreation, which includes the back (Maitai) side of the Codgers area and all of Sharlands. It is vital that users respect these closures. Patrols will be undertaken to ensure compliance and if compliance is poor then access to all Ngati Koata-owned areas will be closed again.
It is important that only permitted riders enter Ngāti Koata land (permits available here:www.tasmanpine.co.nz/permit-forms(external link)) and that riders stick to the area that has been opened. Nelson Mountain Bike Club members are permitted riders as long as they have proof of their current membership.
The Councils, in conversation with Ngāti Koata and Tasman Pine Forests Ltd, acknowledge the importance of forestry operations commencing as soon as possible and ensuring that those working in and entering the forest are not unnecessarily exposed to any unnecessary COVID-19 risk. Engaging the return of the workforce and playing our part in their safety is our goal.
While the government has advised that mountain biking is an acceptable form of recreation at Alert Level Three, it’s important to note that riders should travel to their nearest trail rather than their favourite, stick to trails they know well, and not take on rides above their experience level.
Cycling New Zealand recommends that mountain bikers only ride trails graded 1 – 3 for difficulty during this time.
It is also crucial that people still observe physical distancing rules while using trails. That means only going riding on your own or with people from your bubble, staying at least 2 metres apart from other riders, and avoiding handling infrastructure or other rider’s gear.
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says the government’s announcement is welcome.
“It means our mountain bikers can get back to doing what they love during this challenging time. Our local trails, both on Council and on privately-owned land, are a renowned recreational asset so having access to them during this challenging time is a real boost to the community. I’d like to thank Ngati Koata for working with both Councils to make access available on some areas of their land.”
Tasman Mayor Tim King says “Thanks to all those who have stayed home over the last month, your efforts are paying off. Please be patient over the long weekend and when you do have the freedom to get out on the trails again, I ask you to do it safely and responsibly. Ride your closest trails and ride within your limits.”
Trails will be monitored during alert level three, and the decision to keep trails open to mountain biking will be reviewed if there is evidence that physical distancing rules are not being adhered to or if the burden on emergency services is deemed to be too high.