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History of Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park Supporters
Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park was established in 1998 on retired farm land in various stages of regeneration. The Makara Peak Supporters was formed by enthusiastic locals and mountain bikers not only to help manage the development of the park into a world class mountain bike park, but to also restore the park into a rich and healthy native forest. The park, with pressure from the Supporters, has grown in size and gained protection under recent reserve reclassification.
With assistance from Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, volunteers look after a large possum control network (over 120 bait stations) and a growing mustelid trapping programme (over 60 traps) as well as planting and releasing several hundred trees a year. To date over 32,000 natives have been planted with the goal of planting 1 tree for every meter of track built. Since 1998, volunteers have been successful in several large scale restoration projects and have received several conservation awards for their efforts. These projects are already bearing fruit with an increase in the diversity of native bird species and the successful establishment of many missing plant species. Goats and pigs are an on-going problem but are managed alongside with the councils, and rabbits and hares are of growing concern. Pest plant species are controlled by the Supporters and the council but are very time consuming and labour intensive.
To further the restoration of the park, the creation of new mountain bike tracks opens up land that would otherwise be inaccessible due to dense gorse, scrub and barberry. These newly opened areas allow volunteers to establish new plantings of future seed sources and carry out further pest control and monitoring. Thousands of volunteer hours are poured into the restoration of the park each year, and Makara Peak is a prime example of how a recreational group can be utilised for conservation purposes.