Manapouri trailblazing

Te Anau Earthworks project supervisor Bryan Hamilton (left) joins digger Pug Peat and Fiordland Trails Trust trustee David Boniface on the latest section of the Lake 2 Lake trail, which is set to be open next month.

The Fiordland Trails Trust will be celebrating the completion of the penultimate leg of its Lake2Lake trail connecting Manapouri to Supply Bay Road next month.

Until now, each new addition to Fiordland's Lake 2 Lake trail added onto the previous section, which starts in Te Anau and works its way alongside the East side of the Waiau River. 

For this soon-to-be completed leg, however, the trust has worked in the other direction by making a 4.7km section that starts in Manapouri and ends at Supply Bay Road. 

So far the trail's counters have detected strong use of the completed sections. There were more than 46,000 users between the DOC Visitor Centre in Te Anau and its bird sanctuary, 22,182 users at Tui Bay, and 9282 users at Queens Reach over the first 12 months of monitoring.

Some 6385 users were counted on the trust's most recently constructed section of trail between Queens Reach and Balloon Loop over the first nine months after opening. 

Now what remains to connect the two towns is a 4km section between Supply Bay and Balloon Loop, half of which passes through Fiordland National Park.

Whether the trust will be able to complete the trail that connects the two Fiordland townships depends on the upcoming revision of Fiordland National Park Management Plan. Currently mountain biking is not permitted on any walking tracks within Fiordland National Park, but it is allowed on formed roads and a few local tracks around townships.

Trustee David Boniface said people eager to use the entirety of the trail in the meantime could go onto the road from Balloon Loop to Supply Bay before getting back onto the trail.

While the trail wouldn't be completed in the next construction season, Mr Boniface said the trust had other trails on its wishlist. It was working on a 900m section on Golf Course Road, and preliminary planning was in the works for a 32km trail from Te Anau to Te Anau Downs, among other community loops the trust had on its radar. 

"It's a good team. It's been a pleasure to be part of," he said.

The opening ceremony for the Manapouri to Supply Bay section of the trail will take place on Sunday, June 3 at 2pm at the Manapouri lakefront below the intersection with Hillside Road. Attendees should check the trust's Facebook page the day before if the weather is severe. An AGM will be held prior, at 1pm at the Manapouri Motor Inn.


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