Source: Department of Conservation
DOC is upgrading four Auckland tracks to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.
Date: 26 March 2019
This is part of DOC’s Kauri Dieback Recreation Project to prevent the spread of kauri dieback on public conservation land. Since 2014, DOC has upgraded 64 tracks and permanently closed 34 to protect kauri from this deadly disease.
“Our work to prevent kauri dieback spreading in Auckland is closely aligned with Auckland Council’s programme in the region to stop the spread of a disease that kills kauri of all ages,” says DOC Tāmaki Makaurau Mainland Operations Manager Kirsty Prior.
These tracks are being upgraded:
- Omaha Cove Walk
- Beverly Price Loop Track
- Okura Walkway – Haigh Rd to Dacre Cottage
- Waihunga – Moir Hill track
Omaha Cove Walkway, Beverly Price Loop Track and Waihunga Moir Hill Track will be closed during the upgrade to keep the public, contractors and kauri safe.
The southern section of the Okura Walkway – from Haigh Road to Dacre Cottage – has been closed since May last year, to prevent the spread of kauri dieback. It will remain closed until the upgrade is completed. The northern section – from Stillwater to Dacre Cottage – will remain open.
“This upgrade work is welcomed by the tens of thousands of people who walk these tracks,” says Kirsty Prior. “The upgrades are the safest option for kauri and enable visitors to continue enjoying these special places.”
“Unfortunately, trespassers have frequently entered the closed section of the Okura Walkway and barriers to keep people off the closed track have been regularly vandalised. This track is very popular and we’re investing in an upgrade so people can continue to enjoy this walk.”
“To keep kauri safe from kauri dieback everyone entering and leaving a track must use the cleaning stations to clean their footwear and stay on the track,” says Kirsty Prior.
The exact closure and opening dates for each track will be posted on the DOC website as each track is upgraded. Dates are dependent on supply of materials, weather and other factors.
“We’re expecting the Omaha Cove Track and Waihunga – Moir Hill Track to be closed for relatively short periods, of up to a week. The Beverly Price Loop Track and the Okura Bush Walkway will be closed for longer periods as they have long sections requiring an upgrade. We aim to welcome visitors back onto these tracks by summer 2020.”
Contractors employed by DOC commenced work on Monday 25 March. The work includes installing bark aggregate mix, gravelling, fencing, boardwalks and stairways. All contractors must adhere to strict biosecurity protocols.
About kauri dieback
Kauri dieback can kill kauri of all ages. It’s a disease caused by a microscopic fungus-like organism, called phytophthora agathidicida (PA). It lives in the soil and infects kauri roots, damaging the tissues that carry nutrients and water within the tree, effectively starving it to death.
There is no cure for kauri dieback, and the disease kills most if not all the kauri it infects. It can be spread by just a pinhead of soil.
About the kauri dieback recreation project
In 2014, the Government provided DOC with funding to manage the human spread of kauri dieback on public conservation land. The Kauri Dieback Recreation Project was established.
Currently there’s no proven cure or treatment for kauri dieback. So, we can only save kauri by stopping the disease from spreading. To achieve this, the recreation projection has taken the following approach:
- Upgrading tracks to protect kauri roots and eliminate wet and muddy sections
- Developing and installing footwear cleaning stations
- Introducing initiatives to change people’s behaviour, as the evidence shows that people are the main vector for the disease
- Permanently closing tracks.
The project surveyed the entire 735 km network of DOC managed tracks in kauri forests and identified 186 tracks for possible upgrade or closure.
So far, 64 tracks have been upgraded and 34 tracks have been permanently closed.