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Projects – Wilding Pines at Ferintosh

By: Pat Prendergast

Source: Canterbury / Westland Section Newsletter (February 2017)

Wilding conifers now inhabit more than 2 million hectares of the NZ landscape and are spreading at a rate of about 90,000 ha/year. At this rate, DOC predicts 20% of NZ will be invaded by wilding conifer forests within 20 years (see the article in Wilderness, Jan 2017 and http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/87202492/where-the-wildings-are-a-neverending-fight-for-the-high-country Dec 10, 2016).

The worst offenders are Pinus contorta (Lodgepole pine), Pinus nigra (Corsican pine), Pseudotsuga menziesli (Douglas fir) and Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine). Ferintosh run-holders Marion and Gilbert Seymour have embraced the responsibility of managing wilding pines (and now Rowan-a new invasive tree) on the western shores of Lake Pukaki for over 30 years at considerable cost to them.

In appreciation of the access and support to the NZ climbing community given by the Seymours over many years, a small group of “Wednesday mountaineers” recently held a weekend work-party to help with this eradication. The group included Pat Prendergast, co-ordinator of the Wednesday group and initiator of this weekend, Greg Siddells, Daryll, Barbara and David Thomson. We were warmly hosted by the Seymours in “the cottage” and with a little local knowledge, Daryll soon returned with two fine lake trout – Sunday night dinner sorted. Sunday saw us scouring the road to lake section of Ferintosh, armed with loppers, chainsaws, a slasher and enthusiasm.

We worked through the day with stops for morning tea and lunch by the lake. By 4pm we had covered quite a large area and felt very satisfied with the results of the day’s effort as many of the trees cut down were just starting to develop cones, ready to contribute to the wilding problem. That evening we enjoyed a meal with the Seymours, enhanced with the local trout and Ferintosh raspberries with ice-cream.

On Monday we continued the same work further along the road. But by midday the chainsaws were very blunt and the bodies weary so we called it a day, pleased to have made a contribution to the eradication of these invaders of Ferintosh Station.

We are encouraged to contribute again in the future.

Posted: 17/03/17

Posted By: Narina Sutherland