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April 2019 Issue
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Open day explores unique backyard

Mature matai and kahikatea trees remain in numbers in Herbert Forest

A proud conservation history will be front and centre at the Herbert Forest guided walks day on April 14.
The North Otago podocarp forest is likely the last of its kind on the east coast of the South Island – saved from logging operations in the ‘60s by concerned forest rangers.

The open day will be run by North Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club (NOTMC) and will include guided walks of up to four-and- a-half hours duration.

“We want to introduce people to this unique piece of indigenous forest and introduce people to the idea of tramping,” said NOTMC president John Chetwin.

The club’s last open day in 2017 attracted around 80 people, with “everybody from kids in backpacks to people in their 80s” enjoying the range of walks.

While the club is also looking for new members, the open day is more than a membership drive, Chetwin said.

“We want people to become attracted to the idea of helping to protect and enhance the forest – to become part of the tramping fraternity,” he said.

The unique habitat is home to mature kahikatea, rimu, totara, matai and miro – all common in the region before European colonisation and the clearing of forests.

The park is now privately owned by USA forestry company Port Blakely, and maintenance and pest control is carried out by the NOTMC.

A minibus will provide track transport on the day, and donations will be collected for North Otago Search and Rescue.