Saturday, October 11, 2008

NZ Government buys farmland for conservation

The St. James Walkway

Last summer on our South Island tramping holiday, we walked the St. James Walkway.

The 5-day (at a rather relaxed pace!) route was partly through crown-owned conservation land, and partly through a privately-owned farm called St. James Station. Now the family who own the farm have decided to sell it to the government so that it can be protected.

The farm isn't just part of the Walkway. According to Prime Minister (for now) Helen Clark: "It has 11 different tramping routes, the Amuri ski field, and great mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, horse riding and hunting opportunities. The property's almost untouched landscape is dominated by exceptional natural features.

"Some 430 indigenous species of flora have been identified on the property and 30 native bird species have been sighted there."

The farm covers over 78,000 hectares of land, but recently only about 13 percent of it has been used for grazing. I'm thinking that 13 percent must all be along the St. James Walkway, because we sure saw a lot of cows on our tramp.
Animals grazing on the walkway

Here's hoping that the cows get moved to new homes, so the walkway can return to a more nautral state and those of us who enjoy a good tramp don't have to watch out for cow patties everywhere!

The acquisition of this land completes a coast-to-coast protected corridor across the South Island, which is very cool. Now if only they could finish creating that north-south trail they've been talking about for years...

No comments: