Date: 02 November 2009
Rotopounamu is a popular walk located 11km from Turangi off SH47. Nestled on the side of Mt Pihanga this beautiful lake is a special favourite of walkers, bird watchers, tree lovers, school groups and families as it’s a great place to take young kids.
It is also the focus of a significant ecological restoration project in a joint initiative with DOC and the Tongariro National History Society (TNHS). Together they are aiming to restore the area to its natural state, and encourage native fauna and flora to thrive by way of intensive pest control.
A new group of TNHS volunteers have recently arrived to work over summer at this important site. They come from America, England, France and even a couple from New Zealand.
Their main role is to help with the long term project which primarily involves controlling animal predators. This is done by filling the network of 1100 bait stations covering 600ha of bush, and by checking and re-setting trap boxes around the lake. The bait stations are filled with poison fortnightly over the summer, heavily reducing rat numbers and giving birds a chance to breed. The traps focus more on the control of stoats. Both of these methods require huge volunteer commitment, so this new group is vitally important over the summer period.
One of their first jobs at Rotopounamu on arrival was to place 30 new tree plaques around the lake which identify important native tree species. Area Manager Dave Lumley says “assisting the public in identifying native tree species is important for visitors and locals to help understand the importance and special uniqueness of this site”.
Working with communities is an important role nationally for the Department. Sharing conservation work, and supporting communities and individuals to contribute to conservation is rewarding for all those involved.
DOC has also recently made significant track improvements taking out the steps and therefore making the track accessible for pushchairs. With the increase of bird song and planned improved interpretation this is a great place for families to go for a nature walk.