Date: 15 December 2009
A new operational plan for St James Station aims to recognise the area’s potential to make a valuable contribution to conservation and recreation, says the Department of Conservation’s Waimakariri Area Manager, Kingsley Timpson.
St James was purchased in 2008 for $40 million and is now a designated conservation area covering 78,196 hectares of diverse Canterbury terrain.
“St James has a rich history in high-country pastoral-lease farming and offers a lot of opportunities for New Zealanders to get out and enjoy it,” Timpson says.
“Visitors to the area can witness an integral part of this history first-hand as the renowned St James horses are to remain in the area as a managed herd.
“There is a wide-range of recreation opportunities and most of these can be provided commercially.”
The plan recognises the need to protect the special natural features of the St James Conservation Area but at the same time allow for public and commercial use.
Significant actions include:
- providing controlled vehicular access as far as the Waiau River via Maling and Edward passes;
- allowing the retention of 30 breeding horses with a total population of no more than 80 horses;
- supporting unrestricted foot access throughout St James;
- supporting mountain biking, horse trekking and white water sports;
- encouraging hunting of deer, pig and geese species;
- providing a range of access for fishers;
- allowing continued use of the Hanmer Ski Area, including heli-skiing; and
- providing opportunities for commercial activities.
Direct financial contributions are expected to come from commercial tourism and land-use activities consistent with the Conservation Act 1987. The area may also have a significant potential for carbon sequestration.