Road Maggots putting Kiwi at risk

Not content with holding up traffic, now road maggots are putting Kiwi at risk.

Some mountain bikers have been issued written Department of Conservation warnings for illegally cutting a trail through a pristine forest on Tauranga’s doorstep.

The track was discovered by volunteers helping to reintroduce kiwi and kokako into the Otanewainuku Forest.

Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust chairman Hans Pendergrast said the volunteers were checking predator bait lines when they discovered the freshly cut track alongside No 2 Rd. “They were dismayed,” he said.

The trust contacted DOC staff who discovered that kilometres of track had been cut through the forest, branching off from the popular walking track to the summit and Whataroa Falls.

It was known that mountain bikers had been using the main track despite a sign at the entrance indicating bikes were prohibited.

“I am really pleased that DOC has taken a firm stand on the cutting of cycle trails through the forest,” Mr Pendergrast said.

Even although there was only a slight chance riders would have hit a kiwi, he said he supported keeping cyclists out of the forest during this phase of the recovery, particularly when toxic baits were being laid.

“We need another 10 years at least for all the kiwi and kokako programmes to become a lot more established.”

DOC senior ranger for bio-diversity Brad Angus said staff made contact with some mountain bikers and made it clear that they were not allowed to cycle in the forest.

Rules don’t apply to cyclists…especially when wearing their lycra force fields.

“We take a dim view of people going in a creating their own tracks … it was quite a number of kilometres.”

Mr Angus said the bikers received formal warnings and letters, although what they did was an offence under the Conservation Act.

“We are obviously concerned that someone would do this without requesting permission in such a pristine podocarp forest.”

The most important consideration was the forest’s ecology and minimising damage to vegetation.

He urged mountain bikers to check DOC’s website to see which forests they were allowed in, such as Whirinaki. They were not allowed in the Kaimai Forest Park.

DOC intends to improve the signage at Otanewainuku to make it clear that mountain bikes were not permitted in the forest. It had been a symbol sign.

Stop warning them…start prosecuting them and taking their bikes off them.

 

– NZ Herald

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