A proposal to close the Waitakere Ranges over kauri dieback concerns has been questioned by recreational groups that use the popular park.

It is one of five options the Auckland Council will consider early next week, and will follow a rahui, or exclusion zone, being placed on the 16,000ha park on Saturday by West Auckland iwi Te Kawerau a Maki.

Authorities are struggling to contain the spread of kauri dieback infection, which has jumped from 8 per cent to 19 per cent in just five years and concentrates around where people walk.

Auckland Tramping Club president Tony Walton was sceptical about how a closure would be enforced and was dismayed over the situation.

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"It's quite disappointing that [the infected trees] had been there for a very long time and people are still grasping at straws to work out what to do and how to handle it," he said.

"But we'll be interested to see what the councils comes up with and I'm obviously expecting they'll be consulting with users ā€” which is a huge number of Aucklanders.

"As far as closing the whole thing, it's kind of ridiculous, really ā€” it's not the sort of thing where there's only one gate to the park.

"The council would have to have five times as many rangers just to enforce it, so I really don't think it's going to be viable to close it."

The club ran mid-week and weekend tramps, and about half of those were in the 16,000ha park.

"The important thing is that it's worked through sensibly, that it's something achievable and does actually make sense."

A ban would also put a stop to events like the Hillary Trail Marathon, scheduled to take place in February.

Runners in the annual race, which began in 2014, could race through 80km from Arataki, 34km from Piha or 16km from Bethells, all finishing at Muriwai.

Organiser Shaun Collins wanted more funding and resources put into making tracks dry to stop dieback being spread through mud, and better-designed cleaning stations that walkers wouldn't avoid.

Collins had spoken with Te Kawerau a Maki.

"I agree with what they're doing, in that they are wanting some action from the council."

But he too questioned the feasibility of a closure.

"The trouble, I think, with the rahui and the closure option is there's not really a way of enforcing it," Collins said.

"It's a massive playground out there that people use, and closing it as a knee-jerk reaction. Where are those people going to go?"

Organisers of the Speights West Coaster Adventure Run/Walk today posted on their Facebook page that they had not been advised to cancel or postpone the event, to take place on December 9.

"We have a strong commitment to the people who participate in our events, and will honour that commitment to deliver the Speight's West Coaster event as planned," organisers stated.

"We will, however, implement additional measures to mitigate the intrusion of Kauri dieback disease."


The five options being tabled by the council's Environment and Community Committee include giving up the fight, maintaining the status quo, ramping up work, closing all medium and high-risk tracks, and closing the park.

Environment groups including The Tree Council, the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, Forest and Bird and the Friends of Regional Parks have called for bolder efforts ā€” and a full closure until they were completed.

"We must take drastic action now," Tree Council secretary Dr Mels Barton said this month.

"The current measures are not working and infection rates have more than doubled in five years as a result of inadequate investment.

"When the required actions have been undertaken to keep kauri safe the tracks can be reopened."