Awesome news!

(from Groundeffect newsletter) Heaphy Opens May 2011

Hot off the press... the NZ Conservation Authority has just approved the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan. That means mountain biking is to be trialed on the Heaphy, Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and the (full) Kill Devil tracks. The season on the Heaphy is May through September. Flora Saddle and Kill Devil are year round. Yippee.

It's fifteen long years since Kahurangi became a National Park and the Heaphy was off-limits to mountain bikes. Many have patiently battled to regain access to NZ’s premier multiday singletrack mountain bike ride:

> Bryce Buckland (and Tony Lilleby) from Nelson kicked off the crusade back in 1995. In recent years Bryce often mused that progress was so slow that his body might not last the distance.

> Kevin Hague researched, authored and presented Mountain Bike NZ’s weighty submission to the pivotal Draft General Policy National Parks. It was a persuasive document as the Policy was subsequently changed in 2006 to allow for mountain bikes on selected tracks. Kevin is now a Green MP, campaigning for all things cycling.

> At Ground Effect we have lived and breathed the Heaphy for longer than we dare admit.

> Sean Barnett, along with Federated Mountain Clubs’ Executive, was instrumental in determining the opinion of their membership, and subsequently supporting seasonal access for bikes on the Heaphy.

> Nelson MP and former Minister of Conservation Nick Smith has publicly lobbied for bikes on the Heaphy since the late 90’s.

> Brian Nathan from White Fox and Jones provided legal advice that helped establish the validity of MTBNZ’s position.

> The staff at Nelson/Marlborough DOC who were always open to the notion, and thus allowed for science and pragmatism to prevail.

> And of course 1100 of you made submissions to the General Policy and the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan.

There are plenty out there keen to see the three-year trial fail. Let’s follow the rules and prove them wrong:

> Stick to the winter season - so cool your heels until May next year. Don’t forget Flora Saddle is also an excellent ride that is open right now.

> It’s amazing country and sublime riding so take your time. Fit parties need a couple of days at 6-9 hours riding each day. Overnight at Mackay or Saxon Huts. Hut bookings are essential at

> Don't hunt in packs - maximum group size is six.

> Avoid heavy rain - DOC may close the track from time to time.

> Keep to the track - no exploring (on bikes).

> No night riding.

> Keep the huts and verandahs bike-free.