Check out the amazing footage of downhill mountain biker Brook MacDonald, as he scales down a new trail on Mt Burke. The trail is located in the Wanaka Lake District of southern New Zealand, one of the most visually appealing landscapes in the world.
Ireland could learn a lot from how New Zealand caters for the mountain bike industry, maintaining forests and tracks.
Recently Researchers employed an economic valuation tool called ‘travel cost method’ to calculate the forest’s annual recreational value in simple terms by multiplying the estimated average value per visit by the number of visits each year.
The formula shows that Whakarewarewa Forestin New Zealand for example, has a median recreational value of $5.2 million for walking and $10.2 million for mountain biking per year to the economy in New Zealand.
Jane Arnott, chief executive of NZ Wood, says New Zealand forests currently add $4.6 billion to export revenues of the state, but just as importantly at the ground level, they provide superb facilities for recreational joys – often at no extra charge to the user.
“Without plantation forests and their helpful owners and managers many New Zealanders would have to go without their recreational hobby of choice, from mountain biking to horse riding or walking,” she said.
“Forests provide a sheltered, robust environment that’s ideal for year-round family adventure.
“And what’s really great about our plantation forests is that while the majority are owned offshore, and represent multi-million dollar pension funds, absolutely everyone can enjoy them,” Ms Arnott said.
In New Zealand, 26.2 million days are spent on recreation each year, with forest activities accounting for a major proportion.
Of those, mountain bike cycling is growing fast, Ireland could learn from their example.