Protecting the Land for Good

When we raised funds in order to purchase the additional land at Project Rameka, we said to our generous supporters that we would protect that land.

18 months later, the Rameka Forest Restoration Charitable Trust has honoured that commitment by putting 91 ha of Project Rameka under a QEII National Trust Open Space Covenant.

Liz, Bronnie and Jonathan discuss QEII covenant options with rep Tom Stein at the base of the Rameka carbon forest.

A QEII Open Space Covenant protects the land in perpetuity and ensures its current, and future, owners manage the land in a way that protects its natural values.

Negotiating the covenant with the QEII National Trust involved recognising the uniqueness of Project Rameka being a carbon forest that provides riding, running and walking opportunities for the public.

So we and any future owners of the land are required to manage the land by:

  • protecting and enhancing the native flora and fauna
  • enhancing the land as a source of carbon dioxide sequestration
  • allowing non-motorised recreational activity.

Does this mean anything changes in how we currently manage the land? Not hugely, since so much of what we do is already aligned with the covenant’s purpose. But some things might take a little longer to achieve. For example, if we want to build any new tracks or plant exotic trees, we have to first work with the good folks at the QEII National Trust to decide how that would fit with the covenant aims.

But that is a small price to protect the land for good.

Bridge over Troubled Waters

And so it has happened. After more than a year of sorting through building consents and engineering requirements, no more wet toes, ankles … thighs …

The Rameka Creek in flood
It doesn’t happen often, but when the Rameka Creek gets it into its head to flood, it can REALLY go to town.

The bridge over the Rameka Creek to Great Expectations has been built!

The actual building only took nine days. But those were nine totally full-on days.

Many more people were involved than are shown in this selection of photos. And to everyone who helped out – many, many thanks and big thumbs up to all of you.

So, here’s a taste of the action that took place over the week:

First up was measuring out exactly where the bridge needed to go …

Ricky Ward on the Great Expectations side of the bridge site.
Ricky Ward checks that everything lines up true for the bridge across Rameka Creek.

Then it was a case of digging ….

Phil Castle in a foundation trench for the bridge
Caver Phil Castle is back in his element – digging into the earth as he helps prepare the foundations trench on the bridge site.

And pumping …

Corina in the trenches
Corina Ward helps pump water from the trench.

And digging – did we mention digging?

Brian Sowman and Andrew XX dig deep
Brian Sowman and Andrew Smith knuckle in for just a bit more digging.

Measuring, sorting and sawing timber …

Andy Cole on site at the Rameka Creek bridge build
Andy Cole gets into the swing of things at the old mill site next to the creek.

But there was still a bit of time to stand back and assess exactly what it was we were doing.

Martin on bank
Martin Langley keeps calm and smiles his way through all the hustle and bustle of bridge prep.

And then it was time for the concrete to be poured for the foundations.

Tuesday, the concrete pouring day.
Richard Green arrived with the concrete for the foundations on a brilliant morning – perfect for setting.

Then first the piles and later the beams were lifted into place …

A crane lifts the first 12-metre beam from the mill site.
Friday was a wet day, but the 12-metre-long beams got lifted into place anyway.

And after that, it was a case of all hands on deck as volunteers came flocking to help hammer, saw, measure, grease, measure, saw, and measure again, bolt, hammer, dig … all the usual things one does to put a bridge in place.

EVan Mccarney bolted the beams in place.
Evan McCarney said this was the hardest holiday he’d ever had. Most of us agreed.
Damien and Zac Stone prepare the track to the bridge.
Damian Stones and his son Zac prepared an awesome track to the bridge.
David and Robin
David Bennett and Robin Dawson measured twice and cut only once to get all the decking timber exactly to size.
Weekend volunteer work on the bridge
The weekend round-up involved finishing the retaining wall at the base of Great Expectations, building a ramp to the other side of the bridge and putting in place the decking and then handrails.
Stuart Palmer and Karyn Burgess grovelled to get a handrail in place for the ramp onto the bridge.
Stuart Palmer and Karyn Burgess worked hard to sort out a handrail for the ramp onto the bridge – and it wasn’t easy!
Andrew McLellan, Brett Whiley and Helen Spring worked hard on the bridge build.
Andrew McLellan treated the sawed timber ends while Brett Whiteley and Helen Spring worked on the bridge decking.

And finally the bridge was complete … Ta-daaa!

Fil Burgess completes the staining on the bridge handrails.
Fil and Albie Burgers put the final touches of stain to the bridge across the River Rameka.

Biodiversity Booms at Rameka

January 2017

Rata was in flower for the first time at Rameka in a very, very long time (probably since the forest was burnt off in the 1970s).

DSC06739 (Large) DSC06743 (Large)

This rata was planted in 2009. Many thanks to Project Crimson for the hundreds of rata planted at Rameka over the last ten years.

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There were two bellbirds feeding from flax that we planted in 2011.

Rameka International Vistors Week

November 2016

Just wrapped up a brilliant week at Project Rameka. Great people, and lots done.

After heavy rain we cut back all vegetation hanging over Great Expectations and The Odyssey, as well as digging out a lot of the ruts. The other change that people will notice is that we painted 10 new signs and installed them.

We then refurbished 12 stoat traps that DOC kindly donated, and built boxes for 10 new traps to go along the Rameka valley. The final job was to monitor and release the trees planted last August. The weeds and trees are growing like crazy this spring!

And finally, thanks to the magic of photosynthesis, the trees at Rameka sequestered 26 tonnes of carbon dioxide during the week we were there.

Charlotte test riding Great Expectations. From this we wrote a Track Prescription outlining 20 difficult spots to work on.
Ignacio installed one of the new hand painted signs at the top of Project Rameka Inc. We painted and installed signs at every track entrance and fork at Rameka.
Ignacio dug out 8 wheelbarrow loads of soil from under the ‘limbo trunk’ to provide enough room for tall riders.
Andy, Simon, Charlotte, Martin, Bronnie, Ignacio, Jonathan and Marie, having a lunch break on Great Expectations. Awesome progress made to this point in only 2 hours!
Perrine and Jonathan attempt to cross the Rameka Creek, but had to back out. The strong flow was just about to take them down. This is where the new bridge will be built.
Charlotte, Bronnie, Perrine, Ignacio and Jim refurbishing DOC200 stoat traps to place on the historic Rameka Track.
Albie and Ignacio modifying old trap boxes to fit new trap mechanisms. Ten of these were then installed along the Rameka Creek Valley by Paul Kilgour who has since caught stoats and rats.
Dinner time at Rameka, Catalonia style.

 

November Action Stations!

Next month will be a busy time at Project Rameka. Come and join us if you can spare the time!

Test and Tickle

On Sunday 13 November we will be holding a ‘Test and Tickle Up’ work party on Great Expectations. The goal is to identify the spots that are currently unrideable for Grade 2 riders and fix them.

So if you are a Grade 2 rider, please come along and test the track for us, then help us make it work for you!

Meet at the top of Great Expectations, at 10am on Sunday.

We will have some tools, and some food for a picnic lunch.

Where the Hell are We?

During the week of the 14-18th November, Marie and Bronnie will be working with US interns Jane and Charlotte to paint new signs – one for every track intersection in the project. These will be popping up to help visitors know where they are heading.

To the Scrub Face

On Wednesday afternoon, 16th November, Jonathan and Martin will be leading a work party to uncover more of the historic Rameka Track. We will meet at the Totara Carpark at 1pm, and head up the escarpment to the Scrub Face. It’s a fair walk in now, and the views are impressive.

The Odyssey

We are also on the lookout for a couple of Trail Pixies to give some TLC to The Odyssey. It shouldn’t take much – just a bit of vege trimming, and perhaps removing the odd rut here and there. If you are able to spare the time, please contact Jonathan (jonathan@kennett.co.nz) or Martin at the Quiet Revolution Cycle Shop.

Suck it Up

A heartfelt salute to all those that planted trees last August (and previous years). They are growing incredibly well, and sucking up carbon dioxide in the process. Just a reminder that Good S@#T Happens when good people make it happen.

 

Pedal On!

Jonathan Kennett

P.S. Thanks to all the people who have been beavering away on the tracks over the last few months!