Integrated regional trail network to bring local benefits
Kāpiti Coast District Council has collaborated with the other local authorities in the region, Greater Wellington Regional Council, DOC and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency to produce the Wellington Regional Trails Framework.
The document, which has just been released, was developed to bring the region’s off-road tracks and trails under a single framework, with the aim of driving a co-ordinated approach to planning, developing and managing the network.
Council Parks and Recreation Manager Alison Law says the framework will not replace existing local policy or decision making but will encourage consistent and collaborative planning.
“The Kāpiti Coast is already renowned for its walking, cycling and horse riding trails, and the framework provides a platform for continuing and enhancing this reputation.”
The hopes are that the framework will help create a unique Wellington region experience for both locals and visitors, enhancing the regional lifestyle and attracting greater tourism.
Council Strategy and Planning Group Manager Sarah Stevenson says the initiative will significantly improve the visitor experience on offer and drive economic opportunities for the region.
“This is a unique and exciting proposition, and there are real economic benefits to be gained. There will be positive spin-offs for local businesses, including accommodation and transport providers, and the hospitality sector.”
The framework establishes three classes of trail:
- Signature Trails, including Te Araroa Trail (Paekākāriki Escarpment Walk), which attract recognition for the region as a trail destination and provide a focal point for residents’ activity. They will be showcased through a dedicated website and benefit from increased marketing and promotion and further development of the visitor experience on offer;
- Regional Trails, including Te Ara o Whareroa (Queen Elizabeth Park), Kāpiti Island Summit Walk, Waikanae River Trail, and the Mackays to Peka Peka Shared Path, which form the core of the regional network and provide quality experiences for locals and visitors alike looking for a less ”populated” experience;
- Local Trails, which primarily service local communities looking for recreation options close to home.