Auckland Council's decision to close part of the Waitakere ranges is a devastating blow for recreation, an industry expert says.
The council closed the area as a solution to the rapidly spreading Kauri dieback disease affecting trees in the area.
Local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki placed a rāhui in place over the whole Waitakere Ranges area late last year to try and stop the spread of kauri dieback disease.
In December the council voted not to completely close the area, but did close off 44 high-risk tracks. In February more tracks and forested areas, including parts of the Hunua Ranges, were added, but the closure will not take effect until May.
New Zealand Recreational Association chief executive Andrew Leslie said closing the ranges was the right decision but it created a huge loss for recreational opportunities in Auckland.
He said the association now has to work a lot harder to promote other recreational tracks.
"How can we encourage people to go elsewhere to recreate?
"How can we better promote the other areas around the Auckland region? There are many, many fantastic places to recreate around Auckland."