The draft plan was released for feedback in December 2019 and 212 submissions were received, with consideration of them delayed by the COVID-19 restrictions.
Overall, the feedback we received was positive with a number of changes also proposed. Based on these suggestions, the Hearings Panel recommended some changes, which the Committee has now adopted.
The proposal to replant in mixed exotic woodland and native forest has been confirmed but the following changes have been made from the draft Plan:
- Suggestions on which species to plant and techniques to regenerate native bush will be further considered in a detailed planting plan.
- Assessing the intersections between downhill mountain biking tracks and walking tracks to make them as safe as possible.
- Consider providing some easier grade mountain bike tracks.
- There is already a project to develop a public toilet at Easby Park and we will consider the development of a simple vault toilet for Richmond Hill.
- Staff will continue to work with Fire and Emergency New Zealand to develop risk and mitigation approaches for reserves and significant recreation areas (including Kingsland Forest).
- Planning is underway to provide increased car parking at Easby Park.
- The forest will be renamed Kingsland Forest Park to signify that its main use is changing to recreation.
Adopting the plan sets the management direction for the forest and demonstrates our intention to retire the area from commercial forestry and increase the recreation opportunities in this area.
Update on current forest harvest progress
The current Kingsland Forest harvest entered its second phase today (Thursday 2 July), which sees see some areas closed to keep everyone safe while the work is carried out.
All the walking and biking tracks above the cellphone towers, above Grassy Saddle and Upper Jimmy Lee Creek are closed. The wider area surrounding these tracks is also closed to the public.
Lower Reservoir Creek Gully tracks are open below big trees and the Lower Lodestone Gully tracks are open below Pylon Road. Please look out for the signage in place and stay out of closed areas for your own safety.