Mahu Whenua tracks survey

The Queen Elizabeth II Trust is undertaking a survey on recreational use of the Mahu Whenua covenant land, and we encourage anyone who uses the tracks in the hills behind our town to take a few minutes to complete it. The more replies, the better the information to guide future decisions.

About Mahu Whenua

Arrowtown is truly blessed to have a generous land holder of the high country stations behind the town. Soho Property Ltd has placed a protective covenant over a vast area between Arrowtown and Lake Wanaka that is now known as Mahu Whenua. It is the largest tract of privately owned parkland in New Zealand, and many of the tracks we enjoy exist only because of this generosity. We hope the community continues to treat access with respect and care so that the privilege is not compromised.

The survey

The survey has been commissioned by QEII National Trust, which administers the covenant and is the controlling authority for the various easements on the covenant land.

An Otago Polytech student is compiling the survey so the trust can assess the current use of trails and potential future demand. The information will aid planning for track maintenance and development.

It will also guide thinking on conflict between trail users. This is a topic of heated debate, particularly with increasing demand from both mountain bikers and walkers. Also a number of ‘new’ tracks are being formed without proper consultation/approval so the survey will offer insight into some reasoning behind this and/or provide data for community education.

The results will feed to the Mahu Whenua Access Advisory Group (of which the AVA is a party) and QEII National Trust intends to commission a Mahu Whenua Management Plan. This will guide and streamline future developments, formalise tracks, incorporate a community vision for the nature and intensity of recreational use and may help secure outside funding for track maintenance and signage.

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