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"The story of 7 Mile and the Wilding Pine Monster"

So I'll give you two options, the short story and the long story.

The short story -

QMTBC recently re-signed it's management agreement with DoC for the trail network in the 7 Mile Recreation Reserve.

DoC needs to remove the wilding pine seed source as part of it's plan for the whole Wakatipu area.

The new management agreement has a clause which allows this. DoC plans to do the tree removal in a staged process over a time frame that is yet to be established.

The long story -

QMTBC recently re-signed it's management agreement with DoC for the trail network in the 7 Mile Recreation Reserve.

This is great because it means we can continue to develop trails and hold events, ride bikes etc in the reserve.

The new agreement is pretty similar to the old one, with one main change.

The new clause is based around the removal of the wilding pine seed source. In other words, DoC wants to remove all the pine trees from the 7 Mile Reserve.

This is a pretty big deal. It will mean trails will potentially be damaged, the canopy cover that serves the trails so well over winter will be gone. The shade will be lost the through summer. There will be some other side effects, potentially more maintenance issues, weeds (broom etc), rabbits and bracken.

So it begs the question of why did the club sign on to this agreement?

Well, there's a few reasons:

  1. We need to look at this in the big picture and over a long time frame. In the future, without the pines and eventually with native bush, 7 Mile will be a great place to ride in native, non-evasive forest.

  2. DoC has a mandate to do this work. They need to be a 'good neighbour' and as a government agency, lead by example, convincing them not to is not really an option.

  3. By working with DoC we can help them to find reasonable solutions to the problem and try to mitigate the effects on our trail network.

  4. We have a desire to make the Wakatipu a better place and working to eradicate wilding pine is a way to help this.

The general plan is that the area will be logged in a staged manner. As the felling takes place we will move into the cleared areas, repair and renew trails. By following the clearing around the reserve we should be able to maintain a selection of trails.

As yet we don't know when this work will start.

Replanting, rebuilding of trails, new trails etc, there's going to be alot to do. DoC currently has no budget for replanting of the area or rebuilding the trail network, and they have no obligation to do so.

So, what are we going to do?

The club has a few ideas and a few options. In general, we are keeping some money in the bank for when we need to get some of the work done out there.

We are looking at new areas to ensure we have a winter trail network and somewhere to ride when the work is being done.

The club is liaising with DoC over the best solution for all, understanding that this is not just a recreation problem but a business problem for many people in town. Both parties understand the value of 7 Mile to locals, visitors and businesses.

We know many of you will be disappointed to hear this news. Some of you will have some pretty strong opinions on the matter, we understand that, we feel the same way.

So, what can we do?

Well, in the meantime, not too much. We will continue to plan for alternatives and get ready for the work when the time comes.

We will have planting days, working bees, dig days and dig nights. It's going to be a pretty big task. So when the time comes, please get involved and help us get the place back up and running.

Other clubs deal with this kind of thing on a regular basis, Nelson, Hanmer, Rotorua and Christchurch, we've seen it before.

In the long run, it's all going to be ok.

If you have any questions or want to help, let us know but please remember, we are just a bunch of vollies trying to do our best to keep the QMTBC legend alive and prospering.


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