Forester says trees should have stood

Felling could threaten lake's health

Last updated 13:40 22/05/2008

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An experienced  logger who felled trees at Lake Tikitapu in the 1980s says the present crop should have been left to stand.

A selected clutch of trees was removed from the picnic area 20 years ago, with little public comment. But Thursday's cull, though legitimate, should not have happened.

Chris Taylor said the trees 20 years  ago were felled "as best we could'' but there was run-off to the the lake, popularly known as the Blue Lake.

The prospect of further felling in the surrounding lake area flashed last week with news that Kaingaroa Timberlands, which has cutting rights, intended to make another cut. Money from the cut would also be directed to the Government's Superannuation Fund.

All acknowledge that Timberlands is doing nothing illegal, but opponents fear for the health of the lake and surrounding  areas and the effects it would have as a destination asset.

Mr Taylor said 20 years ago "there was run-off from the hill, because it's steep up in there.''
From an aesthetic perspective, it had been hard to detect where work had been undertaken.
"We just helicoptered the logs from around the picnic area which is pretty much closed,'' Mr Taylor, now a civil construction tutor for Trade Education, said.

"It made about of a mess and left a lot of good timber behind.''

Logging took place to the right of and behind the picnic area in hills to the south-west of the lake.
"They didn't damage any of the walkway or anything.''

Logging was conducted without public knowledge and "they didn't know what was going on''.
Hundreds of trees were felled  "the whole hillside but not between the track and the lake,'' Mr Taylor said.

He said that the present trees would be among "the biggest Douglas firs in New Zealand''.

Douglas firs can remain healthy for up to 300 years, though growth does slow over the years.
Mr Taylor was against the felling.

"I know it's not New Zealand native bush but it looks pretty neat driving down into that area,'' he said. "I've seen them in the states and that's what they look like.''

Timberlands could make some "quick money''. There was not a lot of trees, but ``bugger it  it's the last stand, let's leave them there.''

They were planted to be felled, he said, but so was  the redwood grove in Rotorua, "and who's going to fell that?''

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Mr Taylor worked for the New Zealand Forest Service for 15, and was involved in the first helicopter removal of logs, an experimental first in New Zealand.

- Rotorua Review

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