It's a winner: The Franz Josef Glacier cycling and walking tracks in Westland Tai Poutini National Park have scooped the New Zealand Local Authority Traffic Institute (TRAFINZ) award for Leadership in Sustainability.
Praised by both cyclists and walkers, the tracks provide safe access whilst allowing users to soak up the stunning environment.
The Department of Conservation engaged MWH Global to design the tracks, which are New Zealand’s first shared walking and cycling facility set within a National Park.
MWH designer, Andrew McDonald, says the project merges modern and innovative design with an aged natural environment.
“The effect is like a carpet being rolled out over the forest floor; it just looks and feels right because all of the design components work together. The track alignment creates a flow which means no long boring straight sections, making it a brilliant experience for all who use it.”
The tracks are described by well-known cycling author Jonathan Kennett as “simply the most stunning cycle paths built in New Zealand” and earlier this year picked up the Best Cycle Facility Award at the 2012 Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) Cycle Friendly Awards.
The Franz Josef and Fox glacier access tracks were opened by DOC in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The Franz Josef track is accessed from the glacier road and is approximately 2km long, finishing at the glacier car park. The Fox track is more extensive, providing approximately 3.2km of track, accessed via the state highway 100m south of the Fox Township. This track also finishes at the glacier car park.
TRAFINZ president, Andy Foster says: “The project demonstrates excellent leadership by MWH, with innovative design and construction methods. This has resulted in a high quality end product that greatly enhances the visitor experience. It’s fun!”