The Tararuas hit the news a few days ago, not for the most flattering reasons.
The Tararua, Rimutaka and Aorangi Huts Committee, which forms the representation of local tramping and recreation clubs in DOC’s consideration of local park management issues, has expressed concern that DOC issued a permit for a “one-off” mountain bike ride event between Holdsworth Road and Atiwhakatu Hut.
The event is the Huri Huri 2016 Wairarapa Bike Festival, with this particular ride to take place on Thursday 21st January. Here’s the promotional Youtube video (also embedded in that page), which I’ll presume they also had DOC’s permission to produce because it clearly shows mountain bikes being ridden in that region. The event is being billed as a “one off”, but it seems reasonable to expect that if DOC’s seen fit to permit the activity once, it could easily do so again whether for this festival or not.
The complaint of the Huts Committee isn’t without merit. Under normal circumstances, it’s illegal to enter a Conservation Park (Tararua Forest Park included) with a vehicle unless it’s in a place that’s been designated for that type of use. This rule is embodied in Regulation 19 of the State Forest Parks and Forest Recreation Regulations 1979 (which are deemed as valid for modern Conservation Parks under section 65(5) of the Conservation Act).
DOC can grant permission, of course, but it’s always meant to be adhering to the local management plans and strategies in place for the parks, which have been developed in accordance with consultation of park users and everyone who takes an interest.