The Whakamarama community is celebrating the completion of a major entrance upgrade at the end of Whakamarama Road that will allow better access to tramping and walking tracks.
The entrance is one of the closest to the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park for Tauranga residents and the new formed road and car park provide access to a number of scenic walks and areas.
A tramper enjoying the upgraded entrance on Sunday, May 27. Photo by Ann Mackersey.
Whakamarama Community Incorporated will celebrate the completion with an afternoon tea on Wednesday after years of lobbying for the upgrade.
Treasurer Ann Mackersey says the local community are relieved something has finally been done after six years of deterioration and misuse by 4WD vehicles.
“This should be a place for walkers, trampers and hunters to get into the forest and enjoy it.
“It’s been an area that’s been neglected for a long time.
“Now we’re really trying to encourage families to go up there, it’s a neat place for elderly and there are some lovely easy walks.”
Ann is impressed with the way the community worked together to achieve the upgrade.
Whakamarama Road end in March 2012. Photo by Jeff Milham
The road and car-park upgrade is a joint project funded by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the Department of Conservation.
“The cooperation we have seen between DOC and the councils has been fantastic and we are very pleased to have this work finally completed.
“When all these agencies work together look what can be achieved for the benefit of the wider community.”
DOC visitor assets manager for Tauranga Jeff Milham says the vision was to create a more family friendly environment supporting the conservation values of Whakamarama.
“This site has been mistreated over recent years with activities such as shooting, four-wheel driving and motorcycle activity happening in an area that is supposed to provide a safe and welcoming environment for people to access the forest.
“With the TECT All-Terrain Park now open for business we can firmly say these high-impact activities are well catered for.
“Whakamarama Road end should become what it was meant to be, a car park and entranceway for hunters and trampers.
“It is a great place for people who want to enjoy the Kaimai forest and the historic walkways in this area.”