Clutha Gold Trail Construction 2011
After four years of planning, construction of the Clutha Gold Trail is tentatively scheduled to start in July 2011. Chairman of the Clutha Gold Trail Trust, Rod Peirce, signed an agreement with the NZ Cycle Trail project in September, securing $2.54 million toward the construction of the first 54kms of the trail between the Lake Roxburgh Village and Beaumont.
The Luggate Creek At the signing ceremony in Roxburgh, John Dunn, the NZ Cycle Trail programme manager, said the title of the trail summed up the reasons why it was successful in gaining funding.
"The first thing is the Clutha, the river, the landscape you go through; what could be better than cruising along with the water beside you. Then there's the gold mining culture. A lot of our trails have one string to their bow - the landscape, but you have a second string, which is the mining history of the area."
According to Roxburgh Community Board Chairman, Stephen Jeffery, there is a "huge groundswell of support" for the trail in the Teviot Valley. "Every day I have people asking me when it's going to get under way."
The Clutha Gold Trail, when completed, will traverse 73kms of scenic terrain and riverscapes from Lawrence to the Lake Roxburgh Village, where it will link with the planned 34km Roxburgh Gorge Trail from Alexandra.
"The national cycle trails will revitalise communities and attract New Zealanders and overseas people to your towns," said John Dunn.
Roxburgh Gorge Trail will be Spectacular
“The Roxburgh Gorge Trail will be a spectacular one-day cycle ride between Alexandra and the Roxburgh Dam along the Clutha Mata-au River,” said John Dunn, NZ Cycle Trail programme manager, at a $2 million funding ceremony in Alexandra, on 15 October.
Roxburgh Gorge Trail Trust Chairman, Stephen Jeffery, said the idea came out of community consultation, was researched by the combined Community Boards of Roxburgh and Vincent, and will now become possible thanks to funding from the New Zealand Cycle Trail project. “The economic benefits will be significant and have the potential to revitalise business in the Teviot Valley,” said Mr Jeffery.
The trail route will follow the gorge on the true right, through a remarkably dramatic landscape, encountering old schist huts built into the rock by Chinese miners and the remains of two small mining settlements. Approaching the Roxburgh Dam the hills become less steep and the deep gorge widens, with views over Lake Roxburgh.
The exact trail route will depend on easement negotiations with 11 private landowners, the Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand, and Contact Energy.
“The Roxburgh Gorge has bluffs rising almost 350 metres on either side of the river at its most dramatic point and has been described as New Zealand’s own ‘Grand Canyon’. Opening up this gorge, which has no road access, will open up access to a truly iconic environment. I think that the opportunity to explore well preserved mining relics set within an imposing and inspiring landscape is something that will really appeal to people,” Mr Dunn said.
Central Otago District Council Mayor, Tony Lepper, said this is "an exciting addition to our trail network, traversing a fantastically remote part of our district which boasts a rich cultural heritage. I am sure that the Alexandra and Roxburgh communities will seize this opportunity to develop another vibrant attraction for visitors to Central Otago."
The 34km Roxburgh Gorge Trail will link with the Otago Central Rail Trail and the Clutha Gold Trail.
Upper Clutha Trail Extension
The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust is working to continue the Upper Clutha River Track from its car park on Shortcut Road to the mouth of the Luggate Creek, and into the township of Luggate, with an extension to the Devils Nook. DOC are project managing this section of track and hope to have tenders advertised in the New Year for the construction of the track and a bridge over the Luggate Creek.
Work on the track linking Wanaka to Clyde via Cromwell and Bannockburn is being undertaken with landowners south of Luggate with a view to resolving any areas of concern in a hope that funding may become available in the future to complete the extensive feasibility required.
Native Restoration Projects Begin
During Spring, over 600 native seedlings were planted in two native restoration projects along the Clutha Mata-Au River corridor at Luggate. The projects were jointly undertaken by Central Otago Lakes Forest & Bird, Te Kakano Nursery, the Luggate Community Association, and the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group.
The first site is at the Luggate end of the Reko's Point trail, and the second site is on the true right of the river at the Luggate Red Bridge where the New Zealand Transport Agency felled several large poplar trees. The NZTA generously sponsored the native planting at the Red Bridge site.
Volunteers have been watering the plants, which are doing well despite hot, dry weather. Further native restoration, involving community groups and volunteers, is planned at these sites and others along the river corridor.
Clutha River Exhibition
Planning is underway for a major exhibition about the Clutha Mata-Au River that will tour the region in 2012, visiting several communities within the catchment of the river.
The concept of a 'Treasures of the Clutha Mata-Au' exhibition was proposed by Bill Dacker and Lewis Verduyn, and the idea has been taken up by the Otago Settler's Museum, in association with the South Otago Museum in Balclutha and the Central Stories Museum in Alexandra.
The exhibition will tell the dramatic story of the Clutha Mata-Au from creation to the present day, using imagery and artefacts.
'Friends of the Clutha Parkway'
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Clutha Gold Trail Construction 2011