Forest Trail Building Rules

Forest trail building rules

If you’re handy with a trail building tool, we understand you may want to get involved with trail development. However, there is a process and you can’t just start turning the dirt as it’s iwi-owned land. Read on for the appropriate process and how you can volunteer to get involved.


Some trail building history:

Part of why the Rotorua MTB Club was originally formed in 1993 and why the Rotorua Trails Trust exists today, is to facilitate building trails with full iwi landowner consent and a long-term strategy for keeping the trails open and maintained to the correct standard. 

Here is an overview of the forest ownership and management structure, as well as the official process for pitching new trail ideas. We’d love keen trail builders to get involved on Rotorua Trails Trust Volunteer Dig Days too.

Please note: illegal trail building will result in trespass from the forest and potential prosecution.


How trails are approved and built

Please follow this process to submit ideas for new trails:

  1. The Rotorua Trails Trust collates new trail ideas and concepts from the community. Please submit any ideas you have by going to the Trails Trust website here and emailing Kris.
  2. Every six months, the Trails Trust presents the new trail ideas to the Whakarewarewa and Titokorangi Forest Recreation Committee (made up of Central North Island Iwi Holdings Limited, Mana whenua, Timberlands Limited & Rotorua Lakes Council) to apply for formal consent. 
  3. The Whakarewarewa and Titokorangi Forest Recreation Committee makes its consideration on whether a new trail idea is approved based on factors including cultural values/impact, safety and environmental effect. 
  4. After a new trail concept is approved, Timberlands works closely with stakeholders and trail building contractors to ensure that new trail construction does not harm the standing tree crop. This includes selecting appropriate trees for removal, education on pruning and root health, and assistance with mapping for trail alignment.
  5. Trail building begins

To be clear, the Rotorua MTB Club, Mountain Bike Rotorua, the Rotorua Trails Trust and Descend DO NOT have any authority to approve or sanction trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest. There are NO grey areas. No trail building or trail alterations are permitted without going through the formal process outlined above.

If you wish to discuss this further or have any questions please contact the Rotorua Trails Trust or the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club for more information. 


How to volunteer for Rotorua Trails Trust Working Bees

Date: Trail working bee volunteer events are on the first Sunday of every month. See the Rotorua Trails Trust Facebook Events page for details and to RSVP.

Time: 9am - 12pm

Location: Meet at the Rotorua Trails Trust office on Long Mile Road (unless otherwise noted in the specific date). It is in the building next to the Redwoods iSite/Tree Walk ticket sales/cafe. 

Details: We give a little briefing and then take you into the forest to the trail that we will work on. It may be vegetation control, fixing drains or ruts, or moving dirt - nothing too painful! Tools are provided but if you have a favourite (non-power) tool bring it along. Gardening gloves might be good, too. NOTE: Closed-toe shoes are needed.

Afterwards there’s cake, drinks, and snacks.


How it works - the forest management structure:

We know it can be challenging to understand how the forest structure works - it is complex. So please see below, a diagram explaining it all: