The Department of Conservation (DOC) has today confirmed that Pike29 Memorial Track is set to open on 17 February next year.
The 11.6km dual mountain biking and walking track will connect the Paparoa Track Great Walk to the Pike River valley.
The new track has been created in partnership between DOC, Ngāti Waewae and the families of the 29 men who died as a result of the Pike River mine disaster in November 2010.
“The opening of the Pike29 Memorial Track is another step towards the Pike River Families’ dual goal of creating an enduring memory for their family members lost in the Pike River Mine disaster and creating long term sustainable economic benefits for those West Coast Communities impacted by the Pike River Mine disaster,” says Pike River Families Group Committee chairperson, Colin Smith.
The track rises 880m from the Pike River valley floor to the Paparoa Range ridgeline making it a challenging walk or ride.
DOC Greymouth Operations Manager, Chris Hickford, describes it as an outstanding walking and mountain biking journey in a spectacular landscape from alpine scrub through to luxuriant forest.
“As it winds between the valley floor and the tops of the range it introduces visitors to the story of what happened at the Pike River Mine
“It’s designed to be a fantastic track in its own right but can also be used as an alternative entry/exit point for the Paparoa Track.”
Moonlight Hut to Pike Valley carpark, 17km, 4-8 hours.
Pike Valley carpark to Paparoa Track intersection, 11.6km, 3-5 hours.
Vehicle access to the start of the track in the Pike Valley will be via Logburn Road – which leads into Pike Valley Road – off Atarau Road northeast of Blackball.
DOC says it will not be possible to go further up the road until the memorial facilities are completed. The designs for these are continuing with condition assessments for the buildings underway, the Department said.
For those who do not want to walk the entire Pike29 track, an easy 15-minute walk from the Pike Valley carpark leads to twin bridges within the forest to give a sense of what the track has to offer.