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Grateful: Queenstown Trails Trust boss Mark Williams

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

An off-road cycle trail connecting Tucker Beach to Arthurs Point and Arrowtown’s one step closer thanks to a whopping donation by a United States-based foundation.

The Morgridge Family Foundation’s given $36,000 to the Queenstown Trails Trust, through
the Wakatipu Community Foundation, to help with the construction of the 18km trail, which will include a 75 metre-long suspension bridge across the Shotover River and an existing heritage tunnel in the Shotover Gorge, which isn’t accessible to the public at the moment.

It’s the second philanthropic grant from the Morgridge Foundation in recent weeks — earlier this month it announced a $38,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy Aotearoa to work with Friends of Lake Hayes to restore the lake’s health.

Foundation VP Carrie Morgridge visited Queenstown earlier this year and says she was
inspired by the beauty and ‘‘love for the environment’’.

‘‘The benefits of a project like this are far-reaching, from encouraging a healthy lifestyle to building a sustainable option to commute or just explore the stunning scenery.’’

Trails trust boss Mark Williams says he’s thankful for the foundation’s generosity and
believes the new section of the trail will be ‘‘one of the most popular in New Zealand’’.

It’ll also provide a safe connection between Arthurs Point and Arrowtown, and promote active transport.

The trail development will happen alongside an ecological restoration of the Mill Creek
catchment by the Mana Tahuna Trust, which’ll enhance the water quality of Lake Hayes and create an ecologically-restored corridor for trail users.

The Morgridge Family Foundation grant means work can start once consent’s been granted.

The foundation’s money will be used to form the initial stages of the trail and boardwalk beside Mill Creek as it exits Millbrook and heads upstream.

Williams is expecting a resource consent hearing for the trail to happen by the end of the year.

Subject to approval, he says the whole trail will be constructed by the end of next year.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz