Growing slip shuts down access to Kahurangi park

National park could be closed for weeks

Last updated 15:45 10/08/2012
kahurangi slip
Mark Townsend
STILL FALLING: This slip is set to keep the national park closed for weeks.

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A slip that first blocked the main accessway to the Kahurangi National Park last month has continued to grow, with a mountain of debris closing the road for at least the next four weeks.

A 20,000 cubic metre slip blocked the Graham Valley Rd South branch in late June, but heavy rain has caused an increase in size since then.

The Conservation Department and Tasman District Council last month secured a contractor to remove the rock, but a combination of hard frosts and heavy rain has caused about 30 per cent more material to shift down the hill.

DOC Motueka programme manager visitor assets, Mark Townsend, said he expected access to Flora car park and Kahurangi National Park would be closed for at least another four weeks, while Dusty Digger contractors moved "literally" a mountain of rock and debris.

They had been hampered by bad weather which had continued to bring down crushed schist and quartzite, gravelly clay soils and native vegetation.

Having all the loose material down the hill was a good thing, he said.

Residents in the area had found alternative accommodation for the duration of the clearance, with one family from the United States taking a trip to Panama.

Dusty Diggers owner-operator Barry Mogford said even with the pelting rain his company had had two good days' production.

Each truckload of material held 15 cubic metres of rock and workers had achieved as many as 37 loads a day.

DOC has closed all vehicle and pedestrian access given the high risk of rock fall.

People wanting to access the park could use an accessway through the Cobb Valley or the Wangapeka track, but they should contact the Nelson visitor centre or DOC before travelling.

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