By Rob Pooley
Though none will attest to any great ath-letic ability, by the Mangawhai community they are all seen as ‘track stars’ – the 40-odd volunteers, mainly men but with a sprin-kling of women – who meet regularly on a Friday to hone, hammer, chop and clear Mangawhai’s growing labyrinth of walkways and cycle pathways.
One of the most recent completions is the Tanekaha Track, opening officially on Labour weekend, completing a loop from King Rd across the Brynderwyns and back down the Forest track, a hike of up to five hours.
On the drawing board is over three kilo-metres of mountain bike and walking tracks on the 150 hectares of Browns Farm. Fol-lowing two years of discussions the develop-ment plan has been agreed in principle by the Kaipara District Council.
Discussions are also ongoing with the Northland regional Council regarding the establishment of a beach walk including a boardwalk around Estuary Drive and Back Bay to the Pearson St inlet.
In the meantime, tracks around the Man-gawhai Activity Zone are progressing with one running well away from the main road passing the treatment plant and the back of the golf course and coming out at Thel-ma Rd North. With the completion of the St John Station site both bike and walking track development will continue and it is in-tended they will link up to form a number of optional walks for all abilities and encom-passing a variety of scenery.
A recent community meeting was attend-ed by a crowd of over 60 people. Spokesman for the TRAX4U team, Gordon Hosking, said he was really heartened by the turnout at the daytime mid-week meeting.
“I thought it was a great show of commu-
nity support,” he said.
Gordon, who has a lifetime associated with things ‘forestry’ is also the local ‘go to’ man for the reafforestation programme Project Crimson so being a part of the TRAX4U operation was almost a natural progression for him.
“We have a great team and those who can turn up for a few hours each Friday do so if they can,” he said.
Work groups number anywhere from six to a dozen but it’s surprising just how much can be achieved in a short time with a number of people – and even a break for tea and scones. There is great camaraderie
within the team says Gordon so it’s as much a social event as a working bee.
Now divided into two groups depend-ing on energy and ability there are those who manage the heavier work but no less important are those who attend to regular maintenance in keeping the tracks cleared of debris, especially after months of nasty weather.
And the tracks are not just for locals ei-ther. Holiday and overnight visiitors are con-stantly looking to explore all the corners of Mangawhai which all helps to promote the town.