Dart donates more than 2,000 acres of land in New Zealand as mountain bike park

RHL, a company owned by international investor Ken Dart, has announced plans to donate 2,127 acres of land in the Tasman, Nelson region of South Island to the Crown.  With the Department of Conservation taking custodianship, the mountain bike park developed on the property will be made accessible to the public through an agreement with the Nelson Mountain Bike Club to maintain and operate the existing network of trails.

An avid mountain biker himself, Ken Dart initially purchased the Wairoa land in 2010, investing in the conservation of the natural environment and the construction of a downhill mountain bike park which could be opened up for use by the wider community. Hand-built by a team of more than 60 local craftsmen, the trails run for over 70 km through native forest with a maximum elevation of 1,200 metres.

“Wairoa is a special place to Ken,” says RHL manager Peter Fyfe, who has been involved with the bike park from inception.  “It wasn’t just the physical beauty of the land that impressed him, it was the work ethic and spirit of the team involved in building the trails, a group of young New Zealanders who learned their trade here in Wairoa and have gone on to become skilled trail builders working on projects elsewhere in New Zealand and around the world. Ken wishes to acknowledge the many, many people who contributed to the creation of this extraordinary set of trails, with notable mention of Jeff Carter and James “Dodzy” Dodds, who will be forever associated with the mountain bike park.”

In partnership with the Nelson Mountain Bike Club, the Wairoa Gorge trails have been open to members since 2016.  With this relationship in place, the park now offers a wide range of experiences for riders of all ages and abilities.

“This generous gift will help our community establish Nelson as one of the world’s leading destinations for downhill mountain biking,” said Paul Jennings, a spokesperson for the Nelson Mountain Bike Club.  “At Wairoa Gorge, we have the opportunity to hold international events and attract some of the sport’s top athletes to our region.”

The land is expected to be formally handed over to the Department of Conservation by the end of the year.  “Wairoa is an area of outstanding natural beauty,” said Roy Grose, Director of Operations (Northern South Island) at the Department of Conservation.  “We are delighted the park will be conserved in perpetuity for recreational use and are grateful to RHL for their exceptional stewardship of the land over the past eight years.”

This week, RHL also sold its other New Zealand property, with the acquisition of the 9,997 acre Lilydale High Country Station in South Canterbury by local farmers and conservationists Warrick and Wendy Day.

About RHL

RHL is a company owned by Ken Dart, an innovative and visionary entrepreneur with a global portfolio of investments which includes real estate, hospitality, entertainment, finance and biotech.  Originally from Michigan, USA, Ken Dart moved to the Cayman Islands in the early 1990s where he established the headquarters for his global operations. RHL works with like-minded landowners interested in conserving endangered lands and develops minimal-impact, world-class mountain biking trails. 

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