Six walking tracks in the Tauranga region will be permanently closed to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced the complete closures of 21 tracks today.
The Tauranga tracks that will be fully closed are:
- Bluff Stream Kauri to Waitengaue Hut Track
- Bluff Stream Kauri Track
- Cashmores Clearing Track
- Mangakino Stream Track (Dicky Track-County Rd)
- Wairoa Stream Track
The Te Rereatukahia Hut Track will be partially closed from the entrance to the Wharawhara Link Track intersection.
An additional nine tracks will also be partially closed and the open sections upgraded to eliminate wet and muddy sections of track and better protect the roots of kauri trees.
Sage said there was no proven cure for kauri dieback, so the best way to protect kauri was to slow and stop the disease from spreading.
The track closures are permanent and will be monitored.
"I appreciate some people may be disappointed by the closure of a favourite track but I strongly encourage everyone do the right thing and respect the track closures to reduce the risk to kauri forests."
Full list of track closures:
The decision was made after public consultation, and the majority of public submissions favoured closure. DOC has closed tracks in the past to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.
"Closures may be reconsidered in the future if additional science and other information provide certainty that public access would not cause any risk to kauri," Sage said.
"Although protecting kauri is the key focus, the department did consider the need to maintain recreation opportunities and there are still many walking and tramping options available in nearby areas."
In consultation with local communities and iwi, DOC is continuing work to establish the next steps for the remaining tracks on kauri land that have not yet been upgraded. The options included an upgrade, closure or partial closure.