A community-led trust has set its sights on developing a Great Ride in Taranaki.
“There is a big empty space where Taranaki sits on the map,” Taranaki Trail Trust trustee Charlotte Littlewood said.
“When you think about what the Otago Rail Trail has done for small communities, this is a chance to rejuvenate some of our own local communities.”
The trust was established by a group of passionate locals in December 2019, and has the backing of the regional council. It has recently launched a website to showcase the many trails available in the region.
Though no route proposal for the Great Ride has been put forward yet, Littlewood said there is plenty of potential.
“We have a beautiful coast and maunga, and there is heaps of work going on in predator control to make Taranaki predator free by 2050,” she said.
There are currently no mountain biking tracks in Egmont National Park, though the trust is looking to start that conversation.
“We recognise that there is some way to go on that, and any change would need to be very sensitive to the environment and what the iwi wants, and how they want to co-govern the maunga,” she said.
With or without the national park, Littlewood said there is plenty of history and many stories to tell in the region.
“We want to create an authentic experience that isn’t just riding down a trail as fast as you can,” she said. “It’s about having a journey that transforms you, and builds deep connections to mana and maunga.”