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Further track closures imminent in moves to prevent kauri dieback

Further track closures imminent in moves to prevent kauri dieback
June 5, 2018

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation is reportedly planning more widespread track closures to prevent the spread of kauri dieback, proposing to close or partially close 45 tracks in a bid to eliminate the risk of people spreading the disease.

As reported by Wilderness magazine, the plan follows Auckland Council’s closure of all but a handful of tracks in the Waitakere Ranges earlier this year and three weeks after DOC closed the popular Okura Bush Walkway north of Auckland.

With a total of 56 track closures were being considered, a DOC spokesperson said it was consulting on closing 31 tracks, partially closing a further 14, and was still investigating closing 11 more.

DOC said no muddy tracks near kauri trees will be allowed to remain open, with the spokesperson advising “track upgrades and closures will ensure that muddy track surfaces are eliminated and won’t be a risk to the spread of kauri dieback through soil movement.

“It is not feasible or desirable to upgrade every track with kauri on it and so, in some cases, closure may be the safer approach to mitigate the risks of the disease.”

DOC is currently consulting with iwi, community groups and other track-user groups on the proposal. A decision will be made at the end of July.

Outside of Auckland, DOC manages the vast majority of public kauri forest. Previously, it has closed 15 tracks and two reserves to prevent the spread of dieback. The department has surveyed all 735km of tracks through DOC-managed kauri forest and it is part-way through a programme to close or upgrade 186 tracks in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Coromandel.

It is also installing 20 new high-tech cleaning stations.

People are believed to be the main factor in the spread of kauri dieback disease with track closures and upgrades seen as the best hope of curtailing its spread.

Images used for illustrative purposes only.

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