The walking tracks on Whangarei's award-winning Parihaka reserve are becoming increasingly popular, but authorities are urging those using them to take their rubbish with them because of trash - mainly empty water bottles - being dumped in the pristine bush along the tracks.
The Northern Advocate visited the popular Drummond walking track yesterday, after reports of plastic water bottles littered alongside of track. At least a dozen bottles had been thrown by walkers into the bush.
The reserve has won an international Green Flag award, which judges green space across eight criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, community involvement and providing a warm welcome, three years in a row.
Kara and Steve Cunis were walking the Drummond Track yesterday and were disgusted by the trash.
"It's disgraceful because it's an amazing hill in the middle of the city," Kara Cunis said.
She said other walkers should bring a bag, as she does, to ensure they don't litter. People shouldn't have to be told not to litter, she said.
"You wouldn't drop your cellphone," another walker, Teina Piripi, said.
Piripi said people need to value the track more, ''by loving our land and having an appreciation for it''.
Despite the council's attempts at encouraging people not to litter, with signs at the beginning of the track, some walkers continue to drop their water bottles.
Spencer Jellyman, from the council's recreational services, said people should take them home, or put them in the bins provided at the top and bottom of the track.
The trash has angered the Northern Advocate's Facebook followers.
After putting up details of the rubbish on the paper's Facebook page yesterday many people wanted to have their say and offer possible solutions.
Nikita Christian: "Its super lazy!! I have picked up rubbish on my way up n down these tracks, cant believe it happens , so beautiful and they wreck it."
Marissa Houghton-Peita: "We walked up the other day my 7 year old daughter dropped her bottle and it rolled into the Bush I had to climb down and grab it. saw lots of rubbish all along but could only carry back what we could."
Trish Madison: "If you see trash pick it up even if not yours lead by example."
Maurice Sharp: "Put a camera or two up the track where rubbish is more obvious.
Gabrielle O'Shea: So much trash on the tracks it's appalling."