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Volunteers dig dirt to ease bush trail traffic

May 8th, 2013 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Most Popular, News, Top Picture

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A new downhill mountain bike track is being built on Polhill Reserve to ease congestion for the 50,000 people who use the area each year.

About 420 metres worth of track has been built to date and Brooklyn Trail Builders expects to finish the one-way trail by summer.

The group, whose Facebook page mentions confrontations between bikers and walkers, are a volunteer work force, says member Kevin O’Donnell.

The trails on Brooklyn’s council land on Polhill Reserve, allows walkers, runners and bikers to travel between Aro Valley, the Highbury Fling and Brooklyn Hill.

The new route comes off the established Transient track and will separate bikers from walkers and runners.

Brooklyn Trail Builders are spending Sunday and Wednesday afternoons building the downhill track exclusive to bike users.

Kevin, 41, an intensive care nurse educator, is one of those volunteers passionate about building the trails.

“Our philosophy is to get people off the couch and into the green hills of Wellington,” he says.

Kevin has built tracks in the Wellington region since the group started six years ago, and is helping to build the new downhill track while maintaining others.

“The rule is if you build a trail you have to maintain them. You build a trail well to begin with,” he says.

Brooklyn Trail Builders spend one hour digging one metre of track.

All tracks are hand built with spades, hack saws, axes and buckets without a mechanical tool in sight.

Luke Bassant, 17, right, a student, is one of  the volunteers who include children, students, men and women.

“I feel like I’m obligated to build trails now. I just can’t stop,” Says Luke.

He bikes existing trails most weeks and says apart from digging tracks and riding bikes, he doesn’t do much else.

Franziska Buch, 30, a recruitment worker and volunteer, bikes the trails often after work and enjoys being outdoors doing physical work.

“I’ve always wanted to get involved with trail building. I’ve been a part of trail building in Miramar,” she says.

Franziska has been digging trails in the Brooklyn area for the past two months.

Up to 15 volunteers at a single time dig up tracks and smash rock out of cliff faces.

Kevin says illegal track building used to be an issue within the region because most mountain bike tracks are owned by the Wellington City Council.

The Council has now built a stronger relationship with Wellington’s mountain bikers and contributes timber and pipes to support the Brooklyn Trail Builder’s project.

Together, they have agreed to regular inspections of the track building process and oversee any changes.

Other organisations like Marathon Clinic and Wellington’s Mountain Biking club donate money towards the projects, which the former donating $10,000.

Building on council land means the Brooklyn Trail Builders plant trees, spray weeds and clear rubbish to build these tracks, giving back to the community.

More volunteers are needed to help build the new track 12:30pm-2pm on Wednesdays and 1pm-4pm on Sundays.

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is a student journalist studying at Whitireia in Welington. She is keen on keeping up with the news and writing stories that will have impact in the community. She is currently reporting stories within the Brooklyn area. She is interested in using multi-media in the news room.
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  1. Nice story, Anneka. I ride these trails at least once a week, and I’m extremely grateful to all the hard workers who build them.

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