New Zealand's Old Ghost Road cycle trail receives $800k funding for completion

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Dec 28, 2013 05:26 AM EST

New Zealand Conservation Minister Dr. Nick Smith said funding will be provided to complete the Old Ghost Road cycle trail, the website reported. The funding amount of $800,000 will be taken from the budget of the Department of Conservation. Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust is developing the old gold miners' road which forms part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail. The trust is also working with the Department of Conservation and other community and business groups for the project.

The track has been under construction for two years with one more year to go before completion. The final cost for the project is expected to reach $4.5 million. Around $3.5 million has already been spent, the report said.

The first 26 kilometers of the trail was opened by Dr. Smith in January last year. At that time, the Trust said $800,000 was needed to complete the project. He decided to commit to the funding since he said the trail would be useless unless it is finished all the way through, the report said. The project is set to be completed by March 2015 with the DOC funding.

The trail, which runs for 80 kilometers, weaves through Lyell in the upper Buller Gorge and down the Mokihinui River to Seddonville on the West Coast. The report quoted Dr. Smith, who said, "The trail offers a journey back in time to the gold rush days of the 1860s and the long-forgotten settlements of Zalatown, Gibbstown and remote farms that were abandoned after the 1929 magnitude-7.8 Murchison earthquake reshaped the land and limited access to the area."

The work was met with some criticism last year as conservationists said native trees were felled excessively. They also dubbed the project as "The Ghastly" because of slope debris and degraded mountain landscapes, the report said.

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