Developing trails requires us all to minimise our environmental impact, and respect our natural and cultural heritage.
Anybody using Taranaki’s trails should follow the Department of Conservation’s seven principles of “Leave no trace” and if biking, the Mountain Bikers Code.
In addition, Taranaki Maunga is of high spiritual value for both Māori and non-Māori. It is central to the identity and whakapapa for many people of the region. There are also over 100 sites of cultural significance on the Maunga.
A primary principle of the Taranaki Trails Trust is that activities in Te Papakura o Taranaki (previously known as Egmont National Park) respect and enhance the mana of Taranaki Maunga. The Trust strongly advocates the following:
- There is strictly no mountain biking in the National Park. When people ignore this, it undermines the work of the Trust on building partnerships with ngā iwi o Taranaki and Department of Conservation, and future discussions on of mountain biking may be allowed in the National Park in the future.
- Taranaki is a mauri, or life force and a spiritual tupuna or ancestor for Taranaki Māori. Please respect this by not standing directly on the summit peak or camping, cooking, or littering in the summit area.
The seven principles of Leave No Trace
1. Plan ahead and prepare
Plan ahead by considering your goals and those of your group. Know before you go – get local information, skills and gear you need to make your trip a success.
2. Travel and camp on durable ground
Some areas are more fragile than others. Choose to camp and travel on the most durable surface you can, the best ones are tracks, gravel, snow and most grasses. Impacts on fragile natural features caused by travel and camping can take many years to heal.
3. Dispose of waste properly
Pack it in, pack it out. As users of the outdoors we all have a responsibility to clean up after ourselves. Rubbish and toilet waste are unsightly and can introduce unwanted organisms into the environment. Lead by example – if you see rubbish, pick it up.
4. Leave what you find
People visit natural areas for many reasons; such as exploring nature’s mysteries and surprises. When we leave natural objects and artifacts as we found them, we pass the gift of discovery on to those who follow. Many sites of spiritual and cultural significance to Māori are interwoven with the natural environment.
5. Minimise the effects of fire
Local regulations and conditions change depending on time of year and location. Lightweight stoves, fire pans and mounds mean campfires are no longer essential for cooking or comfort. Wildfires are often caused by carelessness and the natural appearance of many recreation sites has been damaged by campfires, visual scarring and stripping vegetation for firewood. Where fires are permitted, keep them small and make sure it’s out by dousing with water and checking the ashes.
6. Respect wildlife and farm animals
Know when animals are particularly vulnerable, such as breeding times, and change your behaviour with them by observing from a distance. Avoid feeding animals either deliberately or accidentally by leaving food or rubbish lying around. Farming is a big part of New Zealand’s culture and economy, know how to move through farms without disturbing farm animals.
7. Be considerate of others
We all go into the outdoors for different reasons, so we must share. Think about others, respect their activities and what they might be trying to get out of their recreational experience.
The Mountain Bikers Code
Respect the track, respect others and respect the rules.
- Stay in control. So you can safely avoid others and keep yourself intact.
- Give way to walkers.
- Use a bell or greeting when approaching others. Most negative feedback from walkers on shared-use tracks concerns being surprised by bikers approaching without warning.
- Ride shared-use tracks in small groups. A ‘bike-train’ with a dozen riders displaces other users. 6-8, or less, is a better number.
Respect the rules
- Only ride mountain bike and shared-use tracks; stay off closed tracks – including those that are seasonally closed to protect the surface or minimise conflict with other users. Land managers are generally pretty reasonable so talk with them about issues or ideas you may have.
- Be prepared – take food, water, tools, first aid and warm clothes. Plan for the unexpected – a change in the weather, an accident or getting lost and late.
- Obtain permission from private landowners before you set out.
- Leave gates as you find them either open or closed to keep stock where they are intended to be.
Respect the track
- Don’t skid, cut corners or make new lines. Skidding creates water channels and causes erosion. Use both brakes to slow down without skidding as you approach a corner. Cutting corners is cheating and damages fragile ecosystems.
- Avoid riding in the mud and rain. Both bikes and walkers damage soft, wet tracks.
- Clean your bike to prevent spreading weeds like gorse and didymo.
- Take rubbish home – like banana skins, old tubes and snack wrappers. Rubbish in the outdoors detracts from everyone’s experience.
Respect public access easements
Some mountain bike rides travel along public access easements through private land. All easements and tracks are well marked.
- Stay on the public easement track.
- Leave gates as you find them.
- Do not disturb stock – cycle slowly through livestock areas.