Skyline Queenstown chips in to help with pesky pine problem
1th March 2013
Skyline Queenstown chips in to help overcome pesky pine problem
The problem of pesky Wilding Pines is one that affects large areas of the New Zealand countryside, both in the North Island and the South Island. Locally, there are several problematic areas, including Ben Lomond, one of the main backdrops to Queenstown.
The invasive nature of Wilding Pines can mean a dramatic change to a landscape and pose a serious threat to the local ecosystem. This all adds up to a problem which has to be addressed and Skyline Queenstown is continuing its commitment to the fight by pledging $50,000 annually for the control of Wilding Pines.
“We operate in the most stunning environment, so helping with its upkeep is simply a must” says Skyline Queenstown GM Lyndon Thomas. “This is the 4th year we’ve made a sizeable donation; we also make our meeting rooms available for Wilding Pine Control Groups and provided free Gondola access for volunteers.”
Mr Thomas says the problem of Wilding Pines is one which needs to be addressed and one which Skyline Queenstown is pleased to be in a position to help.
“Tourists come to Queenstown for the unique views and as a tourism operator we have to keep those views as they are. It would be incredibly foolhardy for us all in Queenstown to let the stunning sunsets on Cecil peak and the Remarkables alter and diminish to a point whereby we let down the visitors and they go back home underwhelmed. Bad reviews can spread just as easily and quickly as the Wilding Pines”.
The need to take action is a sentiment echoed by Queenstown local Grant Hensman, who is part of the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCG). “Otago is known for the contrasting colours of blue and gold, tussock and clean, accessible open country. The Otago of tomorrow will not be the same unless we do something about it today”.
Wilding Pines need just 600mm of rain a year, can flourish equally well in coastal areas or high altitudes, almost regardless of conditions. And they grow very efficiently from pine cones and the wide distribution of wind-blown seeds. “The damage they do is more than just visual, they can change the local ecosystem and crowd out native trees and plants – they really are an invasive problem which more people need to be aware of”.
Mr Hensman says more needs to be done in order to control the problem, to the tune of around $1million a year for the next 5 years. The 600K in funding at present is a great step but there is always room for more help.
“The contribution from Skyline Queenstown and others is fantastic and we would encourage more companies and people to get involved. We don’t hate the trees; we just love the scenery and want to preserve it for future enjoyment”.
This is the message which was delivered today, when members of the WCG met with John Key at Skyline Queenstown.
For more information on the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group please visit www.wakatipuwilding.co.nz