Conservation in the news
Local doctor Ann Evans is a finalist for her leadership and commitment to the Whareroa Guardians and John Lancashire for his work coordinating the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park. T
heir two areas of operation are the biggest conservation and leisure zones at the southern end of the Kapiti District and there is a lot happening in both places.
The Whareroa Guardians are a wonderful volunteer force of over 200 people and an ideal partner for the Department of Conservation to restore the local wetland and create a new public track for people to enjoy. Former Minister of Conservation, Nick Smith
Last month the Minister announced that a $34,000 Community Conservation grant was being made available to the Guardians for restoring the Ramaroa Wetland and building a new track.
The group, coordinated by Ann Evans, is constantly improving the 450 hectare area. Their activities include:
~ planting thousands of flaxes, shrubs and trees
~ improving old tracks and constructing new ones
~ maintaining existing planted areas
~ pest eradication
~ organising leisure and activity days for the public. (See details below.)
One of the biggest projects currently, is the development of a new mountain bike track (about 4km in length), which will complement the existing uphill zigzag track. I had a run on the new pathway last weekend and when completed it will be an exciting addition to the many options for getting up and down between Whareroa Farm and Campbell’s Mill Road.
- a moderate grassy track at the bottom to the old Marines reservoir
- a steep climb up a grassy slope
- a long winding track cut into the hillside
- plenty of picturesque sections through native bush.
Whareroa Farm Reserve Sunday Nov 2nd 2014
From 11am, all day: Children’s nature trails and mountain bike activities, walks and exploring
~ 11am: Opening of new East Ridge Track for trampers and horses
~ Noon: BBQ’s fired up at the Hub
~ 1.30pm: Guided tours of the new MTB down trail and Akatarawa backcountry trails
~ 2pm: Children’s activities at the Hub: weta motels, pest trapping demo, face painting etc.
~ 2pm: Guided walks, start at the Hub: Ramaroa Wetland and Up to Ti Kouka Helibike to the Akatarawa backcountry, $125pp, (numbers permitting, contact KMtbC)
Queen Elizabeth Park: a fantastic asset
The park is administered by the Wellington Regional Council, but like Whareroa Farm, has a considerable input from the Department of Conservation and local groups like John Lancashire’s Friends group.
In recent years there has been a major campaign to enhance the environment and improve public enjoyment through:
~ planting days
~ preservation and restoration of areas of native bush
~ track development such as the Yankee Trail from the Marines Memorial to Paekakariki
~ stream and swamp preservation
~ dune restoration involving over 200.000 plants
~ signage on trails and to the beach.
Most recently has been the announcement of the development of a new three metre wide cycle track. This will provide quicker and smoother access between Paekakariki and Raumati South for college students, commuters, runners, walkers and cyclists. (More on this in a later article.)
Long regarded as a large under-utilised public space, Queen Elizabeth Park has come alive in the 21st century with plenty of informal leisure opportunities in addition to tram rides, horse riding and camping facilities.
Recognising committed leaders
Whareroa Farm and Queen Elizabeth Park are two of the largest of many areas where the public can get off the beaten track in the Kapiti District. There are also hubs for conservation, sustainability and biodiversity.
So it is highly appropriate that activity coordinators, Ann Evans and John Lancashire, are recognised as Environment Category finalists in the 2014 Wellingtonian of The Year Awards.