Welcome to the MTB Trails Trust website. We hope this website contributes to your enjoyment of mountainbiking. Take a minute to become a Friend of the Trust (see link in the menu bar). We ask only for a nominal donation, but all donations add up and will be put towards adding to and improving the mountainbike trail networks in Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough. In the last 5 years the Trust has constructed over 50km of "natural" mountain bike trails in beech forest and around St Arnaud providing over four days' riding in the area. We were also instrumental in creating about 25km of digger built tracks in Silvan Forest on the outskirts of Richmond. This area was logged in 2018 but the trails are being rebuilt under the guidance of landowner Rick Griffin and our former board member Chris Mildon. The intention is to replant the logged area with native species.
Order MTB Trails Book
If you would like to have a handy reference to all the trails on this website, the MTB Trails Trust has published a guide book to trails in the top of the South Island. It is now available for sale . Click HERE for more details and to order a copy of Nelson–Marlborough Mountainbike Trails.
MTB Trails Trust's Vision
Those values important to the Trust:
- Community focused, environmentally sustainable and low impact approach to all Trust endeavours
- Open engagement with land access partners and the MTB community
- Free access to all trails where possible and appropriate
- An International Mountainbike Association based approach to all trail development projects i.e. a sustainable design and build process will be used for all projects the Trust is involved with, including principal trail build leaders and contractors undergoing appropriate training and up-skilling in build sustainability
- A professional approach to project management. Removing the load on council and DOC staff to drive public land projects through this approach
- No reliance of any kind on gambling based funding organisations for funding
About MTB Trails Trust
The MTB Trails Trust has been formed to advance the management, development and maintenance of the mountainbike trail network in the Top of the South Island to a more professional level.
Trustees are Alan Eskrick, Rob Kay, Dale Peterson, Stephen Sansom and Simon Bloomberg.
One of the Trust’s aims is to maintain existing trails, identify opportunities for new trails and thirdly develop new trails for all levels of riders. Trails will be mostly multi-use and open to other users and we encourage all user groups to co-exist and respect other users.
The last five years has seen a rapid increase in the popularity of mountain biking through all user groups. Recent figures from Nelson’s Great Taste Trail show over 10,000 riders have used the trail in the short time it has been open. On the more difficult Dun Mountain Trail over 500 riders used the trail in one week over a Christmas period. At the Codgers MTB Park riders can be found riding there at all times of the day and night, with the blossoming Richmond Hill trail network also booming with its free and open access. Over 1200 riders per week are using the constantly expanding Silvan Forest trail network, and over 45,000 riders have ridden the Kaiteriteri MTB Park since it opened.
Identified projects on the planning horizon are significant, with several strongly reliant on a level of budgeted capital spending, including from local government. These include but are not limited to:
Starveall/Lee Loop (TDC, DOC, Tasman Forests Ltd)
Richmond Hills (TDC, PF Olsens)
St Arnaud Trail Development (DOC, Nelson Forests)
Other Epic Trail projects (DOC, TDC, NCC, other interests)
Kainui Forest trail network (Nelson Forests Ltd)
Tapawera trail network (Nelson Forests Ltd)
The formation of the MTB Trails Trust (MTBTT) is designed to be a vehicle for delivery of further MTB and multi-use trail opportunities in the Top of the South region. It will also create the opportunity to attract bequests and donations which will contribute to an on-going maintenance programme for the community trail network on a long term basis.
The MTBTT forms a single point of contact with all Land Managers so there are clear understandings of expectation and specification for Trust projects. The MTBTT is run by a board of Trustees tasked with matching Land Managers' expectations with the broader community’s desires. It is also an organisation which will generate its own funding sources, ideally matching public capital project funding with supplemental investment. Any project work, once specified and approved by the respective Land Managers could be contracted to the MTBTT to project manage from start to project completion, with any ongoing maintenance also factored into the project brief.
The MTBTT will also generate detailed project proposals, in consultation with the community where necessary to ensure the best fit between Land Managers expectations and the broader community.
The MTBTT complements the work the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust is currently doing with the development of the Great Taste Trail, filling a large void in the off-road trails space currently only loosely held and networked together.
The MTBTT's practical design and delivery of any trail resource is based on International Mountainbike Association (IMBA) trail design and build philosophy, ensuring sustainability in build, low long term maintenance load, safety, efficiency, harmony, playfulness and an all round great user experience. Compliance with the soon to be issued Standards NZ Handbook 8630 will also be assured.
The MTBTT does stress however, that organisations such as the Nelson MTB Club, Kaiteriteri MTB Park, Golden Bay MTB Club and MTB Marlborough will have areas they may be able to adequately continue managing hands-on.
- The Nelson MTB Club currently manages the Hira Forest network of trails, and has recently taken on management of the Codgers MTB Park.
- Kaiteriteri MTB Park is set-up in such a way that it is a self-managing and well-supported entity in its own right, and the MTBTT may be able to support that operation in some way to enhance it.
- The Golden Bay MTB Club could also benefit from MTBTT support while retaining its interest in areas such as the Rameka and Canaan Downs.
- Mountainbike Marlborough can also be supported and assisted to drive a true Top of the South mountainbiking experience.
The MTBTT does not seek to ‘take over’ any current development opportunities from existing organisations, but is setup to be an efficient, professional vehicle for high quality delivery of project based opportunities large and small.
Sustainable Trail Workshops
The Trust also runs Sustainable Trail Workshops based on the International Mountainbike Association model to ensure all contractors and trail building teams are up to date with best practice, and able to meet design specification (including to Standards NZ Handbook 8630). A workshop for DOC staff from the top half of the South Island has been held and annually the Trust runs a trail building workshop for NMIT Ranger Trainees.
The MTB Trails Trust has full liability insurance cover (to forest company level with Rural Fire extension), an operative Health and Safety Plan that meets the requirements of all Land Managers and an operative Strategic Plan outlining objectives out to 2020.
Photos show a group of 20 Ranger Trainees from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology engaged in hands-on trail building in Big Bush, St Arnaud as part of one of the Trust's Sustainable Trail Workshops.