Firestones Reserve, Lee Valley
Firestones Reserve covers a series of broad river terraces between the Lee Valley Road and Lee River a few hundred metres upstream from the Meads Road Bridge. It lies just upstream from, and on the opposite side of the river from, Meads Recreation Reserve. The main public access to the reserve is from the Lee Valley Road.
A large part of the reserve is maintained as mown grass, though there are some significant stands of native vegetation along the river edge and patches of kanuka and totara scattered throughout the reserve. Dominant trees in the river edge forest are matai, totara, black beech, and kanuka. Also common are kahikatea, lemonwood, red beech, silver beech, pokaka, Lophomyrtus obcordata, miro, turepo, and willow. A diverse range of native species is present in the understorey of this forest remnant.
A well-formed vehicle track provides access right through the reserve, including good access to the river. The reserve is a very popular recreation area, especially for swimming and picnicking during the summer months. It borders an attractive section of the Lee River with several swimming holes.
The former Waimea County Council purchased this area for a recreation reserve in 1976, and a draft management plan was prepared in 1985 . The plan proposed protection and enhancement of flora and fauna while providing recreational access to the Lee River. The plan proposed only limited development of the reserve as, at that time, there was the possibility that the area would be inundated following construction of a proposed dam downstream.