28 Mar 2017

National parks 'not places for motor-powered recreation'

4:25 pm on 28 March 2017

Electric bikes have no place in the Tongariro National Park, despite a government proposal to allow them, says an outdoor advocate.

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E-bikes would ruin the natural peace of a national park, says an outdoor group. Photo: 123rf.com

The Department of Conservation plans to construct three new bike ways, including some for electric bikes, in areas from Turoa to Okahune, Mountain Road to Horopito and Horopito to the National Park.

However, Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand president Peter Wilson told Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan electric bikes ruined the peacefulness of national parks.

"National parks are places of natural quiet and scenic beauty," he said. "[They're] not really places for motor-powered recreation."

Mr Wilson said many members in the club and people from the mountain biking community agreed that electric bikes were not appropriate in all areas of the national park.

He said mountain bikes were acceptable because they were human-powered, while people on electric bikes were not actually the ones doing the exercise themselves.

He said those in need of pedal power assistance, such as the elderly, could use other public reserves for recreation.

The Department of Conservation is taking submissions until the end of May and the outcome of the proposal will be known in a year.

Mountain bikes are already allowed in parts of the Tongariro National Park. Here, a cyclist crosses a viaduct near the Old Coach Road, Ohakune (file photo).

Mountain bikes are allowed in some parts of the Tongariro National Park. Here, a cyclist crosses a viaduct near the Old Coach Road, Ohakune. Photo: Flickr / Jim Swanson / CC BY 2.0

Mount Ruapehu as seen from entrance to Tongariro National Park

The Tongariro National Park is New Zealand's oldest national park, and is internationally recognised for its cultural, spiritual and geographic features. Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton

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