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More track closures for Waitakere Ranges

Auckland Council has closed Goodfellow Track, near Fairy Falls. Photo: George Driver

More than 30 tracks in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park have now closed and more are set to follow as Auckland Council steps up efforts to prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.

In December, Council opted to close all high and medium risk tracks in the ranges, after surveys of the forest found the rate of dieback disease had doubled in the past five years.

Thirty-three new tracks have closed, while nine tracks that were temporarily closed in 2012 will be permanently closed and disestablished. Dozens more medium and high risk tracks may be closed over the next two months as they are assessed.

Meanwhile, work is underway upgrading tracks, with 125 tonnes of gravel being used to resurface sections of tracks to prevent mud.

The Council is considering a 20-fold increase to its budget to fight kauri dieback disease, funded by a levy that would be charged on top of rates and set at either $21 or $60 a year, depending on public support. It would raise $123 million or $356 million for environmental protection over 10 years.

Local iwi, conservationists and a number of scientists say the measures don’t go far enough, and have pushed for a full closure of the park. Local iwi Te Kawerau o Maki put a rahui (a form of tapu restricting access) on the park in early December.

But Mayor Phil Goff said a total closure would result in a worse outcome as people would continue to use the ranges in an unregulated way.

“There is no way we can simply close the park and ensure no one goes into it,” Goff said. “The biggest difference we can make is to close high and medium risk tracks and put money towards enhancing tracks to prevent the spread of the disease.”


New temporary closures

New temporary closures

Andersons Track

Arthur Mead

Browne Track

Chateau Mosquito

Christies Track

Clark Bush Track

East Tunnel Mouth Track

Farley Track

Ferndown Track

Filter Track

Forbes Track

Goodfellow Track

Hettig Track

Home Track

Kura Track

Lower Kauri Track

Maungaroa Ridge Track

McKenzie Track

Peripatus Track

Pole Line Track

Pukematekeo Track

Quarry Track

RGB Track

Sharp Bush Track

Tom Thumb By-Pass Track

Tom Thumb Track

Twin Peaks Track

Upper Huia Dam Track

Wainamu Bush Track

Waitākere Tramline Walk

Waitoru Reserve Track

West Tunnel Mouth Track

Zion Ridge Track

Permanently closed tracks

Robinson Ridge Track

Walker Kauri Track

Taumata Track

Lucy Cranwell Track

La Trobe Track

Nugget Track

Bob Gordon Track

Nihotupu Ridge Track

Summit Track (lower section)