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Forest news

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Forest news

Updated 20 September 2018 3:59pm

June 2018 - Remutaka Incline

Contractors will be installing culverts across the road during June 2018. Follow all signage and instructions.

1 June 2018 - What happened at the Pakuratahi Forest harvesting public event? 

Speakers: Paul Swain, Councillor; Angela McLeod, Councillor; Jimmy Young, Principal Ranger Eastern Sector Greater Wellington Regional Council, Richard Cook, Branch Manager Wellington PF Olsen; Mike Hodgson, Harvesting Manager Southern North Island PF Olsen

Native Trees

Efforts are being made by PF Olsen to take care around significant stands of native trees. Mike Hodgson, manager of the PF Olsen site, offered to meet onsite with a member of the public to identify and mark these areas.

Truck movements

What times would the trucks be on the road?

PF Olsen said that trucks would often start in the early morning, to be travelling outside normal commuting times. They would be travelling at much less than the speed limit, and would finish at 5pm at the latest. Port restrictions have a significant impact on timing of truck movements. The main trucking route is to be over Mangaroa Hill.

Sediment

A member of Friends of the Hutt River asked what would be done to reduce sediment flowing into the river.

PF Olsen said they can’t guarantee no sediment at all, as this process causes disturbance. However they have to meet the National Environmental Standard (NES) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) standard, as well as consent conditions. They will be laying sediment traps, among other measures. According to research and surveys, the area will be back to normal within five years.

Replanting

What about replanting, are you obliged to do this and when will it happen?

PF Olsen is required to replant the pine trees. They usually replant the winter after felling, so in this case it is likely to be in winter 2019. This will take up to two weeks and Greater Wellington assured everyone the Forest wouldn’t need to be closed for this.

Health and Safety

Health and safety was the keynote of the event from all speakers. PF Olsen are PEFC certified and run a highly sustainable operation. One member of the public requested a new horse riding track to be open during harvesting to allow access to other areas without having to use the tunnel. But this had to be denied because of the great risk associated with having people and horses in a work site. Greater Wellington are going to great lengths to allow safe access during evenings and weekends to certain areas.

Remutaka Cycle Trail

How long will it take to reestablish the track via Mangaroa Tunnel?

Greater Wellington and PF Olsen will bring the track up to national standards immediately after harvesting is finished – around a week. 

Sharing information

Can you provide regular updates and give as much information as possible?

Greater Wellington gathered email addresses of all attendees who wanted to be contacted with more information, as well as the details for community Facebook groups. Releasing information will be coordinated with Upper Hutt City Council, and the main portal will be gw.govt.nz/pakuratahi

Keep an eye out on social media channels or get in touch with the ranger if you have a question – dion.ngatoro@gw.govt.nz


 

Pakuratahi Forest Harvesting public event to be held 31st May 2018

The area of Pakuratahi Forest close to Maymorn, Upper Hutt will begin to be harvested by forestry company PF Olsen at the end of June. As owner of the land, Greater Wellington has arranged for a public event to be held to share details with the community on the harvesting. Other local representatives will be present.

Where and when?

Thursday 31st May, 7pm, Te Marua Golf Club, 675 Main Road, Upper Hutt 5018.

What will the event cover?

Access to the Forest around the Maymorn area will be affected by this stage of the harvesting, which will take approximately six months.

Greater Wellington are going to great lengths to be informative and produce clear signage to reduce health and safety risks – our number one concern. The event will cover the Forest tracks that will be affected, the overall schedule of works, and any other relevant information.

Who should attend?

If you live in the local area and think you might be affected, come along to hear more about the harvesting. Greater Wellington will also be sending flyers to homes in the immediate area. These flyers will be available at local stations and community hubs as well.

What if I can’t attend the event, how can I be updated?

We’ll be adding information to the Pakuratahi Forest section of the Greater Wellington website, including a map and flyer which will be available to download in the days following the event. Regular updates will be posted on our social media channels, including Neighbourly, so keep an eye on those. Clear signage will also be placed in and around the areas of the Forest affected by the harvesting, to point users in the right direction and make them aware of the risks.

 

Remutaka Rail trail pre-winter spruce up happening April - May 2018

Vegetation clearance around historic structures like bridges, tunnels and culverts is being undertaken to preserve the structures and keep this trail to a high standard recreational users expect.

The work will be undertaken from Tuesday 3 April and is part of Greater Wellington's regular maintenance of this great trail. 

Signage will be in place during the clearance work.

Access to this trail will still be possible during this work but we do ask people to take extra care as they enjoy their ride or walk. See the trail page for more information.

 

Transporting harvested logs in Mangaroa Forest Feb 2018

Our role in the harvesting and transporting process in relation to transporting logs harvested from the Mangaroa Forest is limited. It involves resource consenting for the harvest and ensuring safe access for visitors seeking recreation in the Pakuratahi Forest, which encompasses the Mangaroa Forest.

To ensure public safety in the forest, up-to-date signage information on logging operations is on display at the Colletts Road park entrance and further information on the perimeter of work sites.

Information will regularly be updated on this page to reflect different locations of the harvesting process.

What’s happening in the forest?

Mangaroa is a commercial plantation forest located in the broader Pakuratahi Forest. Its trees have reached maturity and harvesting is taking place over the next two years. One hundred and eighty hectares of mature radiate pine in the Mangaroa Forest will be logged, amounting to around 80,000 tonnes of pine.

Who is involved?

While the land is owned by Greater Wellington, cutting rights to the timber are owned by Resource Management Service LLC (RMS) a global forestry-centered investment manager. Forestry company PF Olsen Limited manages the forests for RMS and will manage the harvesting.

Will this affect forest access?

Harvesting will limit access to the Mangaroa Forest Block off Colletts Road, but public access will be maintained to the rest of the Pakuratahi Forest. We will keep you up-to-date with any access restrictions or changes to provide as much opportunity as possible for continued recreation.

What about public safety?

Public safety is our number one concern. Within the forest, sign will be posted at all relevant places to restrict access to hazardous areas. Please follow safety signage in the park and don’t go into prohibited areas.

Outside of the forest, logging trucks will take timber from the forest to its shipping/processing destinations, which will increase logging traffic in the local community. Local roads are the responsibility of Upper Hutt City Council.

We are working with Upper Hutt City Council to limit the impacts of this operation and various consent conditions are in place to minimise its impact.

Will logging trucks go past Mangaroa School?

No - PF Olsen has opted to take logging trucks out via Mangaroa Valley Road and over Wallaceville Hill. We’re in regular contact with the community and Mangaroa School to minimise any impacts to them and to make sure we keep everybody safe. 

Have you informed the community about what you are doing?

Yes. We've followed a public consultation process: we mailed affected communities and held a public meeting on the matter, which included relevant parties and people from the local community.

We remain in touch with PF Olsen and will regularly update you on the progress of the harvest and changes to forest access both via signage and this website.

Where can I get more information?

Any questions regarding access into Mangaroa Forest should be directed to the park ranger and any questions relating to Mangaroa Valley roads or truck routes should be directed to Upper Hutt City Council.

 

Siberia's so much smoother now

Users of the Remutaka Cycle Trail will enjoy a much smoother ride through the Siberia gorge now improvements have brought this up to the standard of the rest of the Rail Trail section.

A chunky, hard-fill surface with many ruts and ridges has been smoothed over to create a much safer and more enjoyable riding surface. The walking track was severely eroded, and that’s been fixed by realigning the Cross Creek stream and filling in the eroded sections.

Several players were involved in making the improvements: funding was shared by GWRC and by MBIE, with GWRC managing the overall project and undertaking the works with the Department of Conservation.

Key Native Ecosystem Plan for Pakuratahi Forest

A Key Native Ecosystem plan sets out the management activities that will be carried out to address threats to biodiversity at sites managed by GWRC as part of the Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) Programme. The KNE Programme includes sites that represent a full range of native ecosystem types with significant biodiversity values across the region. Management activities at these sites aim to protect and restore these important remnants of our natural heritage.

Pakuratahi Forest Key Native Ecosystem site

Pakuratahi Forest includes some large areas of high biodiversity value and these areas comprise one of GWRC’s Key Native Ecosystem sites. The Key Native Ecosystem Plan for Pakuratahi Forest describes the values and threats for this site, as well as the management activities GWRC is planning to carry out.

The KNE site at Pakuratahi Forest includes all of the native forested areas within the Park, which is located on the western side of the Remutaka Range east of Upper Hutt. There are many features of the site that make it special. These features include its large size, the mostly intact nature of the forest, the areas of sub-alpine tussockland and the special vegetation types it contains, such as swamp maire forest and areas of numerous orchid species. The KNE site also supports a range of threatened animal species, most notably New Zealand falcon, rifleman, barking gecko, and four species of native freshwater fish.

With weeds, pest animals and the adverse effects of human activities posing ongoing threats to the area, GWRC is undertaking a long-term commitment to ensure that this Key Native Ecosystem site’s values are protected and restored.

You can download the Key Native Ecosystem Plan for Pakuratahi Forest and find further information about the KNE programme on our website.

Monumental march commemorates centenary

Around 150 people marched across the Remutaka summit in late September in a recreation of a rite of passage for soldiers heading to the WW1 battlefields of France and Belgium.

Resounding to the stamp of hobnail boots, the march commemorated the centenary of the journeys of the 60,000 soldiers who on completing their training in Featherston Military Training Camp crossed the summit en route for Trentham Army Camp and the Great War between 1915 and 1918.

A highlight of the 21 km march over the 555 metre Remutaka Summit was a ceremony at the evocative 1915-1918 Remutaka Crossing commemorative monument, which was unveiled and blessed on the occasion.

Supported by the South Wairarapa District Council the event was a great success, enabling those who took part to recount stories from their forbears. The stone and iron monument can be found just above the summit car park near on GWRC land near the new summit tracks. It’s definitely worth stopping to view it next time you’re in the area and an opportunity to stretch you r legs on the tracks while you’re at it.

Remutaka Summit revamp stimulates visitors

Remutaka Summit now offers visitors a double whammy as people are also beginning to discover the under-rated but spectacular Ara Tirohanga (formerly Remutaka Trig Track) just down the road.

The summit has been a traditional stop for drivers crossing the range, and more so now following its recent upgrade. Visitors can now enjoy the short loop track and lookout and, over time watch the newly planted bush grow into a lovely area befitting a major watershed.

“But we’re also seeing a lot more activity further down the road on Te Ara Tirohanga, with cars beginning to pile into the new car park since we put up signage. And no wonder, the track, which is in the Pakuratahi Forest, offers spectacular views out over Lake Wairarapa, Mt Climie, and across to the Tararuas and the kids can do no bother,” says GWRC Principal Ranger (Eastern) Jimmy Young.

It takes about half an hour to walk the zigzags to the trig and same back but the reward is worth it. A word of caution: beware of rugged Wellington weather and expect strong winds as there is no shelter at the summit. Check it out, it’s an undiscovered gem and a great diversion if you’re going over the hill.

Greater Wellington is aware of safety concerns raised in a recent consultation meeting by a member of the Upper Hutt community in relation to transporting logs harvested from the Mangaroa Forest.

 

The regional council’s role in the harvesting and transporting process is limited: it involves resource consenting for the harvest and ensuring safe access for visitors seeking recreation in the Pakuratahi Forest, which encompasses the Mangaroa Forest.

 

“To ensure public safety in the forest we will provide up-to-date information on logging operations through signage at the Colletts Road park entrance and further information on the perimeter of work sites.

 

“In effect, that means we will work closely with PF Olsen as they move through the harvesting process, ensuring that clear and appropriate signage is in place to alert the public to closed areas and the presence of logging operations,” says Principal Ranger (East) Jimmy Young.

 

“The information will regularly change to reflect different locations of the harvesting process, so we will also regularly update the public through our website at gw.govt.nz. We urge the public to keep everyone safe by taking note of and obeying, the signs.”