5 May 2018

Popular Waitakere Ranges tracks reopen

8:51 am on 5 May 2018

Two popular tracks in the Waitakere Ranges are open again today after work to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.

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Photo: Auckland Council / Jay Farnworth

Large parts of the ranges in Auckland's west have been closed as Auckland Council joins the local iwi, Te Kawerau ā Maki, to fight the disease that's fatal to kauri.

But two of the tracks near the Arataki Visitor Centre have been upgraded to make the fungus harder to spread - the upper part of the Arataki Nature Trail and the Parker Track.

The council's regional parks manager, Rachel Kelleher, said the paths had been resurfaced with gravel which meant dirt would not be stirred up as people walked.

Barriers had been put up to keep visitors out of some places, and walk-through shoe cleaning stations had been installed at track entrances.

It was hoped they would kill any kauri dieback spores.

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Photo: cactusphotography 2016

Last year a survey found very few people were stopping at the old stations which required them to scrub the dirt off their shoes.

The mana whenua, Te Kawerau ā Maki, said it supported the rolling openings of some tracks once proper preventative work has been carried out.

Almost 170 tracks in the 16,000 hectare Waitakere Ranges Forest Park remain closed, with strict guidelines required for the few that remain open.

Those caught disobeying the rules faced a maximum penalty of three months imprisonment or a $50,000 fine.

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