A partial opening of Eaves’ Bush in Orewa is expected in the coming weeks, as the first stage of work is completed, but a full reopening of the reserve is a long way off.
The bush was closed in mid-June last year for the Auckland Council funded work, which involves track upgrades and aims to protect kauri from kauri dieback disease.
The first stage is the upgrade of the track along the northern side of Nukumea Stream from Old North Road, west to the (currently closed) bridge that provides access to Kensington Park. This work is almost complete and when finished will see the reopening of the track alongside the stream.
The bridge was closed last November and is considered unsafe. While the bridge remains closed, the track will be re-opened as a one-way track only. The bridge replacement is on hold and a decision on funding will be made soon by the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board.
Manager Kauri Dieback and Tracks Specialist Grant Jennings says in addition, the access track from Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve through to private land to the west of the reserve has been closed to prevent mountain bike access.
“Alice Eaves is an extraordinary quality kauri forest and is currently free of dieback. It is extremely difficult to protect the spread of dieback from bikes,” Grant says. “Although bike hygiene stations can be provided they are large and expensive units, costly to maintain, and we would be reliant on cyclists to use the stations and use them correctly. Also the trails in Alice Eaves are not suitable to be used jointly by mountain bikes and walkers.”
He says the start of Stage 2, which includes the upgrading of the northern loop tracks, has been delayed by a year, until late next year.
“It is proposed to investigate temporary track surface mitigation before summer to open up one of the link tracks up to Hillcrest Road. This will provide extra tracks and access through the reserve for the community to use over the summer period and the track would then be closed when the wet season returns.”