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South Island coast-to-coast corridor completed

8 October - Wellington

South Island coast-to-coast corridor completed

Forest & Bird congratulates the Government on its purchase of St James Station to create a high country conservation park.

Forest & Bird high country spokesperson Sue Maturin says adding the 78,000-hectare Canterbury station to public conservation land is an outstanding achievement that all New Zealanders will be able to enjoy.

St James Station includes part of the well-known St James Walkway, and completes a protected corridor between the Seaward Kaikoura Range on Canterbury's east coast to the Pancake Rocks in Paparoa National Park on the West Coast.

"Forest & Bird's vision to create a coast-to-coast protected corridor is now a reality," Sue Maturin says. "St James was the missing link - it was virtually surrounded by public conservation land, but now will be a welcome part of it."

St James was one of the top priorities highlighted in Forest & Bird's "Six Pack of Parks" proposal, which called for key areas to become high country conservation and recreation parks.

Sue Maturin says the last decade has seen dramatic progress towards a network of high country parks in the South Island.

"We began with one park and now we have eight, with two more pending. Significant areas of tussock grasslands, shrublands and alpine areas have become conservation land and been opened up for public recreation.

"This means that some of our most iconic and vulnerable landscapes, ecosystems and threatened alpine plants and animals are better protected and can be enjoyed by this and future generations."

St James is especially important because it best protects the transition from dry east coast grasslands and shrublands to the wetter beech forests of the main divide. Except for the valley floors, most of St James is wild natural landscape, with few weeds and many threatened species, including New Zealand falcons, rock wrens and long-toed skinks.

ENDS

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