Conservation efforts are being recognised across Central Otago, where some projects are considered to be “game-changing”.
The Department of Conservation (Doc) recently presented awards to groups it felt were deserving of the title, including Mountainbikers of Alexandra and Otago Central Rail Trail Trust.
Representatives attended the presentation ceremony in Invercargill, including Mountainbikers of Alexandra president Joe Sherriff, who was honoured to accept it on behalf of everyone in the group who had worked hard.
The group has developed about 17km of track along Flat Top Hill over the past five years, and was now working to extend that by about another 9km.
Tracks are developed for mountainbikers and walkers.
Mr Sherriff said the group has a five-year management agreement with Doc, which was in the process of being renewed for another five years.
The Otago Central Rail Trail Trust was also “proud” to have been recognised last week, trust manager Tania Murphy said.
The trust has a 25-year-long relationship with Doc.
She said the award was an indication of just how far the group and its facilities had come, locally and nationally.
“It’s recognising that what we’ve done along the trail has been game-changing across New Zealand.”