The kauri dieback / kauri protection process steamrolls onwards in an environment of patchy information on research results and patchy information on intentions and timetable. We now have the Okura Walkway closed, forests up north closed, threats to some of the North Shore parks, and proposals for track closures or changes in the Coromandel and Northern Kaimai.

This has resulted in a major degradation to recreation opportunities for Aucklanders and our visitors. On a hot summer’s day, whether it be for half an hour or all day, where can we now go for a pleasant bushwalk with the shade of trees there to mitigate the harmful effects of the sun’s rays ?

The National Kauri Dieback Programme website provides only high level information, although it is possible this will be upgraded soon.

Auckland Council and the Department Of Conservation have been glaringly reticent in pro actively engaging with recreation groups – consultation has been patchy and last minute, and typically happens after decisions have already been taken.

The approach of a number of Auckland recreation groups, who are members of the Auckland Track Users Forum, is to engage with Auckland Council Parks managers to better understand their draft strategic plan for the future of the Waitakeres and Hunuas, and also to propose ways in which volunteer groups can be enabled to assist with the required track upgrade programmes. This is with Auckland Council to make the next steps in determining how best this can be implemented, presumably in line with their other work plans, only once we are into the spring / summer months.

Similarly in the northern Kaimai, there is a consultation process underway, with the Kaimai Ridgeway Trust representing ATC and other Kaimai interested clubs in what is a kauri protection process, given no detected dieback disease in the Kaimai Forest Park. There we have a good record - via the Pylon Peak Track in 2015 - of track construction to reroute a track away from kauri, and we are keen to ensure that we have the opportunity to assist to keep as many tracks as possible open and kauri safe.

For information about the Kaimai proposal and the KRT submissions, go to this link

http://www.sporty.co.nz/kaimaicommunity/Kaimai-Tracks/Kauri-Protection-Work-Proposed-1

We have no information on DOC kauri protection measures in the Coromandel at this stage. Similarly, no news of what is happening up north until we get into the serious business of trying to plan future trips.

The important message for the ATC is to continue to work on other options especially for our day trips programmes. Our recent meeting discussed additional options, and we will see some of these appearing in forward trip plans that Linda and Russell so carefully construct for us. BUT you too can help, by suggesting new trips, and new ways of enabling us to get out and about and explore our region each week. You too can study maps, discuss amongst your friends, do a reccy or few, provide a trip description, and lead special trips that are your brain-child.

Thanks,

Tony Walton