A cycle touring track linking the West Coast and Golden Bay will bring economic benefits to the region, says the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN).
CAN, the national organisation for cycle tourists and commuters, says that a bike track through the Kahurangi National Park would avoid the damaging environmental impacts of a road.
"We agree with the Prime Minister that a road between Karamea and Collingwood would do little for eco-tourism", said CAN chairperson Jane Dawson. "But a track for cycle tourists would not affect the wilderness experience of other Park users, and would lure both NZ and overseas cyclists to the area, providing a boost to the local economy. Ultimately, CAN sees this track as a small but important link in a national cycle route network."
CAN believes there is fast growing interest in cycle touring in New Zealand, boosted by the recent international release of a major NZ cycle touring guide. The success of the Otago Central Rail Trail and the Queen Charlotte Walkway, both on DOC land and jointly used by walkers and cyclists, suggests that a Karamea-Collingwood cycle track would be very popular.
CAN says the track would cost very little to build when compared with a road and would be a good investment. CAN predicts that cycle tourism will become a major earner of tourist dollars for New Zealand. "Like backpackers, cycle tourists travel light but spend a lot on accommodation and adventure activities," said Ms Dawson.
Local bicycle user group Bicycle Nelson Bays also supports the idea of a cycle track. Spokesperson Iain Dephoff said the number of cycle tourists travelling west from Nelson towards Abel Tasman National Park and Kahurangi National�Park is growing.� "Cycle tourism is good for local businesses. Many of these people stop off to do seasonal fruit picking work before continuing on down to the West Coast via the busy Buller Gorge Highway.� A cycle only track would be a boost to the region and very popular with both overseas and New Zealander tourists alike," said Mr Dephoff.
CAN today called on DOC and the local authorities in the region to work together to get the cycle touring track built.
For further information, contact:
- Jane Dawson, Chairperson, Cycling Advocates Network, 04-385 2557, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Iain Dephoff, Bicycle Nelson Bays, 03-543 3639, email@example.com