McLaren Falls Park has laid the gravel on a new walking track and upgraded its facilities, just in time for the summer camping season.
The new walking track, which runs along the side of the lake from the park entrance toward the information centre, is barrier free and wheelchair accessible.
“We built the retaining wall that holds the track up using timber that had been removed from the boardwalk on Marine Parade, at Mount Maunganui Main Beach,” says Gary Borman, Tauranga City Council's Park Ranger for McLaren Falls.
“The posts were recycled from work Council did in the Elizabeth Street parking building, so all we've paid for is nails and gravel,” says Mr. Borman. “It's been really cost-effective and the timber is still as strong as ever.”
Tauranga City Council worked with the Department of Corrections to arrange labour through the Community Work programme, and Mr. Borman and his two staff designed the track.
The community work crews have worked at McLaren Falls for a couple of years and enjoy the variety of jobs, from building tracks to spreading mulch.
In addition to the new walking track, many of the gravel roads have been sealed, and fully accessible, solar-powered toilet facilities have been installed. Cattle stops have also been installed at key locations to prevent sheep from accessing the front of the park, allowing McLaren Falls staff to plant a wider variety of plants and trees.
McLaren Falls Park comprises of 190 hectares of pastoral and horticultural parkland set alongside Lake McLaren. The park features six kilometres of road and 12 kilometres of walking tracks.
It has around 250,000 visitors a year and is a popular camping spot over summer.