Whitehorse Mountain Bike Trails

Ken Buckingham President Waimate MTB Riders

How we got involved. My son Daniel and I started mountain biking in 2012 in preparation for riding the Alps to Ocean trail with fellow Waimate Rotarians and then we sort of just kept on biking. Waimate had a MTB track going up to the Whitehorse through a Pine Tree Forest, which to be honest we didn't frequent much, however this trail was ruined after the September 2013 wind. Early in 2014 my electrician and MTB enthusiast Dave Hanson asked me to give him a hand to rebuild this trail and look at creating new MTB trails. Which sort of set off a chain of events. To be able to receive funding we needed to form a new club, so last year we set up a club called Whitehorse MTB Riders Inc. We have a Committee of 5 with Dave as Treasurer, my wife Shona - Secretary, Glenda Begg and Daniel are also Committee members and I'm the President.

Our Number 1 goal is to create a shared use trail, to be used by mountain bikers, walkers, runners and the like, from the end of Point Bush Road in Waimate to the Whitehorse. This trail is to have an average gradient of 5%, be 6-7km long and 2-3 m wide. It will be called the Whitehorse Big Easy. This trail is aimed more at the beginner/intermediate level of mountain bikers. As the Whitehorse Big Easy goes mostly through private property owned by Gary Dennison (and Vines Restaurant owner) we needed to have a legal Access Agreement to ensure that the trail will remain available and free to use for everyone. Thankfully the lawyers for the club (Hope & Associates) and Gary's lawyers (RSM Law) agreed to do this work on a pro bono basis. We also needed funding and thankfully Rotary Club of Waimate has given us $12,500, without this funding we would've struggled to get real momentum.

Trail building has occurred. Dave, Daniel and I marked out the top 3km of the Whitehorse Big Easy from where the trees had been cleared. Land owner Gary Dennison paid for some digger time to get the project started and Gary Rooney agreed to cut the rest of the top section on a 50/50 basis, which meant he matched us dollar for dollar; this was done in August 2014. Since then we have also rebuilt some singletrack (named DDT) for mountain biking with some support from Leathwick Contracting. And I've also used the tractor for some sections and more recently Fulton Hogan gave us free use of a 5 tonne digger for 3 days. Early in 2015 another section of the forest was felled and Gary allowed some of the skidder tracks to remain for our use (now called the Rosewood Loop), Laurie Forestry kindly paid for a digger to make them useable. We have also had culvert pipes donated by Ipex Industries. Currently we are marking out the bush section of the Whitehorse Big Easy

As of June 2015 we have established about 6km of usable mountain bike trails and already we are seeing mountain bikers, both local and visitors to Waimate, riding them as well as being used by the local harriers club. Access to the MTB tracks can be from the bottom of the hill just past Vines Restaurant or by parking up at the Whitehorse. And a map can be found on our Facebook page.

This is an incredible project and it's not very often that you get the opportunity to be so involved in a community project that has such huge potential.

We continue to run the Club on the smell of an oily rag and hence the reason for this page. Whilst we have a Facebook page with a map and updates on it, people are still searching for a website and the club, Whitehorse MTB Riders Inc, doesn't have a website and for financial reasons doesn't intend setting one up.

So I am hoping this page will be found by people searching for Mountain Bike Tracks in Waimate and then they will find the link to our Facebook page, Whitehorse Big Easy. If you are on Facebook and interested please check out our Facebook page Whitehorse Big Easy (it has lots of photos). And if you like what you see please click on like because the more support we have the easier it will be to seek new funding.


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