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Newsletter #2 August 1, 2014
Word from the Chair
We've received some fantastic support since our first newsletter two weeks ago, and it's timely to send some more information about the Trust, particularly how it's set up to deliver for mountainbiking in the Top of the South.
Firstly I'd like to welcome Malcolm Edridge and Gary Donaldson to our board of trustees. Along with Andrew Spittal these guys are making a massive contribution to expanding the region's trail network.
Our focus has been on sharing information around the new Trust - set up primarily to realise the Epic Trails project, and as importantly the wider potential of this project for the Top of the South.
Of the huge number of recipients of our first enews, only 12 people chose to unsubscribe. This does reflect mountainbiker’s always-healthy appetite for information, but if you are uncomfortable with receiving any more information from us we'd encourage you to simply unsubscribe, using the direct link at the bottom of this page.
The Trust has lofty aims, and it's important to note that this organisation represents a step up in delivering for MTB in the Top of the South. Many organisations including our local bodies talk about this goal a lot and do what they can to help achieve it, but the reality is that there currently aren't the resources (neither people nor investment) to really deliver on that massive potential.
You don’t have to look far to see how successful an organisation like this can be, with Taupo and Queenstown being great examples of a driven, Trust based approach.The MTB Trails Trust is set up to project manage what are in effect, major projects, which require investment and fund raising, and expertise with a driven focus among other attributes. This includes long term planning around managing maintenance requirements.
The Trust is a voluntary run organisation, and a Registered Charity (our registration number is on the "Become a Friend" page of our website), and is subject to all the checks and balances specified by the Department of Internal Affairs. That alone should give confidence that things are being done in a structured and responsible way right from the start. Some of the region's major contractors certainly think so, with Chings, Donaldson Civil and Edridge Contracting already on board and humming. Longtime MTB supporter Sharlands Engineering have offered structural engineering help as well, and all the region's local bodies and DOC are excited to be a part of this, as they can see the benefits of an organisation willing to take this on.
Councils and DOC have only steadily diminishing resources able to push this agenda, and they welcome a partnership of this type to deliver. Currently the Trust's activities fall largely in the voluntary space, as meaningful investment in trail development in the region is less than slight. And we’re certainly not going to see the likes of the hundreds of thousands of dollars put into upgrading the Dun Mountain Trail again any time soon.
The three contractors named above (through Andrew Spittall, Gary Donaldson and Malcolm Edridge) together with Tasman Trails (Chris Mildon) are right now putting significant in-kind contribution into the Richmond Hills trail work and the St Arnaud trail development project, adding to the trail specific volunteer work already being done in those areas. In fact last week we had four diggers and operators working on those two projects. Some of the projects the Trust will deliver simply can't be done solely on a volunteer basis as the scale of these is too large. So as the Trust generates investment through various means to deliver those projects, so too must it tender that type of work out using accepted contracting practice.
This is an exciting prospect, and we thank those who have already jumped on board as Friends of the Trust for their support. We look forward to doing some fantastic work for mountainbiking in the region, complementing the great work done especially by the region's MTB Clubs, and hope to see your smiles out on the trails!
The vision of MTB Trails Trust looking forward five years is to position the Top of the South as a national and international mountainbiking destination, by developing a network of mountainbike trails for all abilities that will be a valued community asset.
Keep up to date with trail news on our website Trail News page, we are constantly updating it.
Involution/Widdershins Access from August 1st
There is a salvage harvesting operation starting in the first week of August, which will affect access to Glider Rd and the Barnicoat Walkway. Glider Road will be closed to all access Monday to Friday during this operation, with the Barnicoat Walkway and Fincham Road closed completely for the duration of the operation. Involution/Widdershins (MTB and walkers) and the Scout Track (walkers only) will remain open, so if riders are looking to ride these trails during the week, it'll be a good time to reacquaint with the great and enjoyable challenge of climbing Involution. Please be especially aware of the dual direction nature of this trail, and comply with all closure signage on site.
Great news! As of 25th July, access to the popular Codgers MTB Park is back open. Hancocks have finished their harvesting operation around the back of Fireball Rd, and NCC contractors have got the Dun Mountain Trail and Pipeline back open again. So, the trails not damaged in the Easter storm are back available to ride. Read some more about the situation here, and keep an eye on the NMTBC website for opportunities to get involved with trail work now that the club are managing development and maintenance of Codgers.Again, if you previously missed it be aware that the harvesting crew will be back in to Codgers in November to get the last of the standing timber out, so summer riding in here may be a little disjointed, if available at all.
Work is proceeding well on the Beebys Knob - Red HIlls track. This is going to be an awesome ride when it's finished. Another couple of working bees should have the route set out right through which will add another 8km of singletrack to the region's trail network. More photos, and map of the route here and here.
Take a ride around the tracks at Teetotal. If you'd like to ride something a little different take a look at Sidewinder and the Teetotal Flat tracks at St Arnaud. For trail information, photos and a map click here. There's 2 or 3 hours good riding on these tracks.
Last week saw the rest of the Escalator climbing trail in Richmond connected and opened for bikes. It's been a whirlwind two weeks of construction, with Andrew Spittall and Gary Donaldson and their two diggers ploughing this trail through.
Chris struggled to keep ahead of their progress with route marking, clearing and cleanup, and at times felt like a rabbit tearing back and forth across the face of the crazy hill keeping the project on track. The pigs and the wekas got used to this though, and in between the wekas pinching Andrew's lunch on a regular basis, and the pigs making short work of any rotten stump they pulled it was a bit of a zoo at times.
While the trail is now open, there is still some grooming happening, which includes opening sightlines up in places and making sure all the gorse stubs are out of the trail tread.While this is a climbing trail, it is dual direction, but if you plan to ride down it please take care and ride within good speed limits especially where you can't see whats coming up at you.
We can't thank Andrew and Gary enough for their amazing generosity in taking this on. Both are very busy guys in their real jobs, and while they both love to ride what they build, this type of community contribution is above and beyond. Between them they have put in 110 hours of digger time over the last two weeks, with Andrew also bringing Ching's rock breaker in, which was invaluable for cutting through several hard rock shelves.
So, to the trail: what you'll find is a great climbing gradient from where this new 2.5km leg connects in with the bottom of Escalator beneath the Telcom site. In the middle the gradient pitches slightly due largely to the mean terrain, and it will be a reasonable challenge riding up through this part of the trail. There are some mildly exposed bluffs here so don't get distracted, and most if not all pitches have good flat sections of trail following them for that important regroup. The top third of the trail is back to the ideal climbing gradient, right on through to the Hang Ten jumps skid site.
Massive thanks to Steve Richards at the TDC as well. Steve is a fantastic supporter of the development of a networked MTB trail system in the Richmond Hills, and with Mike Brien leading the charge with trail crew work it's a great team - we just love their ever present enthusiasm! And a big thanks to PF Olsens who manage the Kingsland Forest - much of this new part of Escalator runs through new growth pine, and the ease of negotiating the construction of this trail with them has been brilliant. More information and map here.
Last Thursday Malcolm Edridge had 2 diggers and operators "tearing through the bush" on the Big Bush Track creating an impressive amount of trail in a day. They were back there Friday continuing to create what is going to be an awesome trail wending through the bush.
Jono and Greg on the diggers say building mountainbike tracks is like playing in the sandpit. They love the work.
Mountainbkers are indebted to Malcolm for his generous contribution to this project. This weekend there will be 2 diggers back on the job and work will include putting culverts in some of the wet spots.
To date the Trust has contributed in kind work worth over $22,000 to the St Arnaud trail network.
Ground Effect are a well known Christchurch based company, with a long history of supporting trail projects and organisations involved with trail development via their Slush Fund. They make some pretty fine cycling kit too, and one of their first items I bought back in the late 90's I still use, and is still going strong. GE take an enlightened approach to the way they run their business, and as part of their connection to the broader MTB Community they organise a trail build weekend every year for their staff and key supporters. Last year they were at Craigieburn, and for 2014 (Nov 22/23) we are fortunate to have GE coming to St Arnaud to support the Trust's trail development push. There will be about 30 of the good GE folk, staying at the Red Deer Lodge courtesy of DOC, and they will be building a trail in the Big Bush area they can hang their hat on.We look forward to hosting them at Nelson Lakes and catching up with some old friends to boot.