Hollyford trust seeks council funding
A trust set up to protect an environmental "jewel" in the heart of Fiordland is seeking funding to help stop problems in their possum-footed tracks.
The Hollyford Conservation Trust, established in July, is approaching southern councils to help propel their lower Hollyford Valley restoration project.
Trust chairman Ron Anderson said the reasoning behind the trust was simple.
"We could stand by and watch the bird life diminish, or we could do something."
So in July this year, a group made up largely of crib owners and regular visitors to Martins Bay became the Hollyford Conservation Trust.
Now the group is stepping up its efforts to get work underway in the area its members love.
Anderson said the group was approaching Environment Southland to see what kind of assistance could be available and whether it was something it could contribute to in the future.
They need funding for, or assistance with, traps, poison and other ground control systems to stem a burgeoning pest problem in the area.
"The biggest challenge for us is to get going as quick as we can."
The group has already established partnerships and support from the Department of Conservation, Ngai Tahu Tourism, Cape Sanctuary and Forest LifeForce.
The group has also approached the Southland District Council, which had been "very supportive" of the idea, he said.
The Lower Hollyford area has large areas of private land with very few ratepayers. Ratepayers in this area don't have libraries, or rubbish collections, or any of the other rate-funded services, he said.
Funding for pest control from councils was a way to serve ratepayers in the area while contributing to a place that has significant value to many people.
For him, protecting the area was something close to his heart.
He's been visiting the area for over 40 years after his family purchased the old McKenzie family site.
One day he was looking around at all the beautiful trees and bush and noticed it was starting to die off in places, he said.
"There are significant issues with possums, stoats and rats," he said.
He then looked around at other conservation projects in the area and realised "we could do this too".
The idea seemed to be popular and already small amounts of fundraising for items such as possum traps had been done.
"People are getting behind us. $1000 raised here and there, it's all adding up. There's no going back now."
The Southland Times