Plans are afoot to build a 440ha all-year-round mountain bike trail in Kaipara and the brains behind it are calling on the public to support the project being run by volunteers.
Kaipara Cycling is leasing a block of forest from Greenheart Group on Babylon Coast Rd, just outside Dargaville, for the biggest mountain bike trail in Kaipara that will take 18 months to finish at an overall cost of $680,000.
If the volunteers behind Kauri Coast Mountain Bike Park can raise $100,000 they should have enough trails to start riding and create more interest.
Project manager Sadie Cogan said the only mountain bike trails in the district were a 3.5km trail at Hardie Park and a shared cycle and walkway around the Kai Iwi Lakes.
"Kai Iwi Lakes in summer is clogged up with tourists, cyclists and joggers so more definitely needs to be done for families, individuals, beginners. You look at tourist operators offering cycle tours and it's massive," she said.
"We have Australian tourists up here and the new mountain bike park will be close to the Kaihu Valley Rail Trail. Ours is going to be all-weather park because it will be on sandstone."
Cogan knows a thing or two about mountain biking, having represented New Zealand in mountain bike cross country at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Kaipara Cycling would be applying to various organisations for funding.
"We currently have 70 members and more people are offering to help. Those that have accommodation around the mountain bike trail area, we've got family groups, as well as individuals willing to help.
"At the moment, we have 20 people at a time trimming the trail since summer and that's saving $3 per metre if we are to pay someone to do the job," Cogan said.
Kaipara Cycling has contracted Northland trail builder Ryan Lovett to design and build the park.
Commenting generally on the rising popularity of mountain biking in Northland, Waitangi Mountain Bike Park founder Tiffany Holland said the arrival of Covid hasn't deterred Northlanders from taking up the activity.
"Our numbers have remained the same, despite Covid and it shows that an increasing number of Northlanders have taken up mountain biking. We've had 25,000 rides over the past year and the advent of e-biking has opened up opportunities for a lot of people."