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Be wary in the bush and report storm damage

5 August 2008

Be wary in the bush and report storm damage urges DOC

People venturing into Wellington’s forest parks and reserves are urged to be extra vigilant after the recent storms, and report any damage - preferably with an accompanying image - to the Department of Conservation.

The department is aware of fallen trees and some track damage in the front country. This includes the Rimutaka Forest Park, where the gate to the entrance at Catchpool Valley has been locked since Friday due to major windfalls on tracks in the Catchpool and Orongorongo Valleys. It is hoped to have the Orongorongo track and the main gate reopened tomorrow, but the Cattle Ridge track will remain closed until further notice as repair work is undertaken. There are also many large trees blocking the Puffer Track to Smiths Creek in the eastern Tararua Forest Park, which could take some weeks to clear.

DOC has yet to check out the condition of tracks and structures in the remoter areas of the Tararua, Rimutaka and Aorangi Forest Parks.

“We don’t expect these areas will have emerged unscathed from the heavy and prolonged rain, and strong easterly winds over the past week,” says Wellington Conservator Alan McKenzie.

But, with more than 760 km of tracks on conservation land in this region, it would take some time for DOC staff to assess the extent of any damage.

“So we would appreciate hearing from people who come across damage to tracks, huts or structures. A digital photograph, a GPS grid reference and a detailed report of the damage would be very helpful.”

Mr McKenzie said people heading out into forest parks should be mindful that they may have to detour around obstacles on tracks, allowing themselves plenty of time for their trip, and making sure that they get back on the track again. He also warned that just a shower of rain could render streams impassable because of the high river levels at present.

Digital photographs and detailed reports of damage can be emailed to Wayne Boness at the Kapiti Area Office: wboness[at]doc.govt.nz, Garry Foster at the Wairarapa Area Office: gfoster[at]doc.govt.nz and Shane Hatwell at the Poneke Area Office in Wellington: shatwell[at]doc.govt.nz

People reporting damage can also contact the DOC HOTline 0800 362 468 with a description of the size and nature of the problem, including a GPS or map grid reference. Or they can ring Kapiti Area Office on 04 296 1112, Wairarapa Area Office on 06 377 0700 or Poneke Area Office on 04 472 5821.

ENDS

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