2. Key Facts and Assumptions

2.1 Mountain biking or off-road cycling, is a popular and growing outdoor activity which has significant benefits for participants.

2.2 Mountain biking is particularly popular in the Wellington Region which has large areas of accessible public land and the geographical characteristics many riders find attractive.

2.3 Territorial authorities (in particular Wellington City Council and The Hutt City Council) and Wellington Regional Council are the main providers of mountain biking opportunities. Access for mountain biking to Department of Conservation lands is relatively limited though the demand for access is evident. In general, riders have the use of all roads or vehicle tracks on Department of Conservation land.

2.4 Mountain biking is a legitimate activity on suitable public lands within the Region.

2.5 Mountain biking generates problems in some areas due to "social" impacts on other track users and physical impacts on the track or the track environment. With detailed understanding of the actual impacts, there will be opportunities to manage or mitigate impacts and reduce conflict. In many areas there has not been a detailed understanding of, or a coherent management response to the known problems.

2.6 Recognising that the needs and impacts of mountain bike riders and other track users may be different, their respective rights to the use of appropriate places and facilities are of equal importance.

2.7 Management techniques which emphasise co-operation between trail users, sharing of recreation areas, and the promotion of courtesy and individual responsibility are, in principle, more desirable than techniques which involve control and enforcement through the application of the law.

2.8 A co-ordinated and consistent approach between key agencies and groups in the management of mountain biking is likely to be more successful in achieving positive outcomes than if there is no, or minimal co-ordination. A co-ordinated approach between key agencies can still reflect the different mandates, resources and statutory constraints of the agencies concerned.

2.9 A mountain bike strategy which addresses the needs of mountain bikers and the potential in the Region for this activity, as well as its conflicts, will ensure lasting social and economic benefits for the Region, including economic benefits through increased tourism.

Goal

Mountain biking is accepted as a legitimate recreation activity on suitable lands within the Region and is undertaken and managed in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.

Actions

Affirm the rights of mountain bike riders and other track users through the adoption of the principles and policies of this plan, in the management of public lands (general).

Identify suitable places and tracks for mountain bike use, the conditions of use, and the reasons for any restrictions (general).