Wednesday, 01 April 2020

QLDC issues track safety reminder

Trail users must adhere to strict measures during the COVID-19 lockdown

While it’s more tempting than ever to get outside under the government’s COVID-19 lockdown and State of Emergency, there are strict regulations that must be adhered to.

That’s the reminder from Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) General Manager Community Services and Acting Emergency Operations Controller Dr Thunes Cloete. “These restrictions can seem inconvenient or frustrating, but it’s important they’re followed by all of us in the community in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

All Queenstown Lakes District Council trails are still open in both Queenstown-Wakatipu and the Upper Clutha. However, there have been a significant number of reports about people not observing physical distancing rules. Remember, unless someone is part of your isolation “bubble”, you must stay two metres away from others at all times.

“Now, more than ever, is a time to be extra considerate when sharing the district’s tracks and trails with others. Don’t act as if you’re training to get to the front of a crowded marathon. If clashes continue QLDC may have to consider closing certain tracks for the safety of the wider community,” Dr Cloete said.

If you need to drive to a trail then it’s considered too far away, so please don’t go. Remember to keep your exercise local at all times, which means within your immediate neighbourhood. Please avoid touching things like park benches or picnic tables while exercising.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is also reminding people that aside from short walks or bike rides in your neighbourhood, recreation needs to be put on hold.

DOC has closed all huts and campsites, and asks no one uses these until further notice.

Local walking and biking tracks in your neighbourhood, within walking or biking distance, are open. However, DOC carparks are closed to discourage people from driving to access these locations. Again, if you need to drive there it is not local. Please follow the government’s guidelines and maintain social distancing when you are out on the tracks.

To ensure the best opportunities to maintain safe passing and physical distances, please observe the following:

  • Cyclists must always give way to pedestrians.
  • Dogs need to stay on-lead so you don’t need to go running after them.
  • Don’t wear headphones so you can hear others coming and observe appropriate distances.

There have also been reports of slips along the Gladstone Track, between Lake Hāwea township and Johns Creek. The cliffs along this route can be quite unstable, so please stick to the path and avoid the beach under the cliffs.

QLDC staff and Queenstown Trail Trust members are continuing to monitor the situation on our district’s tracks and trails regularly. Regular updates from the Trail Trust can be found on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/QueenstownTrail/

Advice is also available from the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust on their website: http://www.uppercluthatrackstrust.org.nz/

Details around QLDC’s response to COVID-19 and notification of any trail closure can be found here: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/covid-19

ENDS|KUA MUTU.

Media contact: communications@qldc.govt.nz or call 03 441 1802.