Mākara Peak Mountain Bike Park: from cycling to conservation

Powered by volunteers with a master plan, the Mākara Peak Mountain Bike Park has grown into a prime example of what dedicated individuals can create

Many trails and parks in the Wellington Region are developed, protected or maintained by the tireless and passionate efforts of volunteers. Mākara Peak Mountain Bike Park is one excellent example of such a phenomenon.

With top quality biking trails within 250 hectares of native bush, this is a spectacular offering for everyone from avid mountain cyclists to those looking for a place to get out in nature without heading too far out of the city.

Volunteer-driven conservation work

In 1998, the Mākara Peak Mountain Bike Park volunteers came together to establish what is today used by 11-13% of Wellington’s population every year. Throughout the 1990s and right up to the present day, the volunteers have spearheaded their mission to create a bike park rich with native forest.

The park started as a gorse-covered farm that had been cleared of native vegetation. Slowly, through the likes of tree planting, stream restoration, goat control, pest control and fire protection, the group have actioned their master and ecological plans to create a thriving home for native flora and fauna.

The bike tracks have been expertly designed and future-proofed to make sure there is minimal damage to the surrounding native bush. One native tree is planted for every metre of the track developed, and thus far more than 45,000 trees, flaxes and shrubs have been planted, with most now more than two metres high.

On pest control, along with Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, the volunteers have established and continue to look after a large possum control network and trapping programme. There are currently more than 120 bait stations and more than 250 traps in action.

Notably, the area has seen an increase in the diversity of native bird species and the successful establishment of missing plant species. Not to mention the creation of some 40 kilometres of trails, which welcome vast amounts of adventurous souls every year.

Powered by the people

Today, the Mākara Peak Mountain Bike Park Supporters Group is made up of local residents, walkers, runners, conservationists and mountain bikers, who spend nearly 4,500 volunteer hours maintaining and developing the park. Through an annual subscription and volunteer work, they continue their work and mission.

Locals support the park by joining Trails Wellington with a yearly $30 subscription. By joining Trails Wellington, members also become supporters and members of Mākara Peak Supporters, Wellington Mountain Bike Club, and Brooklyn Trail Builders. Trails Wellington is also affiliated with WORD (kids riding) and Revolve (cycling club for women).

The group’s Master Plan highlights that the park has been built on extensive input, resource and commitment from a core group of highly motivated volunteers. What began as a mountain biking project has evolved to be a powerful example of the impact a community can have.

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