The Forest Pools picnic area in the Waihou valley on the edge of Puketi Omahuta Forest is getting a new lease of life in time for this summer.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is working with Te Mauri o Waihou to upgrade the popular picnic area.
On Tuesday 24 November, local residents, contractors and DOC staff worked together to install a culvert and create parking and picnicking areas using rocks and recycled fence posts. The new parking area will help separate vehicles from those enjoying the awa (river) and ngahere (bush). A new toilet has also been installed on-site.
Locals and DOC contractors working together on landscaping
The work ensures Forest Pools remains a place to enjoy
Dan O'Halloran, DOC Services Ranger says: "There will be a Whanau Day and small opening ceremony on Saturday 5 December to celebrate Forest Pools' new look. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the BBQ and shared lunch and watch Chile, a graffiti artist, and local children, paint a mural on the new toilet. Future plans for the area include: landscaping, installing a speed bump and erecting signage."
"All of these upgrades are designed to cater for day-time picnickers and swimmers. Unfortunately, due to the behaviour of overnight campers at Forest Pools last summer, the area is now closed to camping. Local residents became concerned about the situation and formed Te Mauri o Waihou. DOC is pleased to be working with Te Mauri o Waihou to ensure Forest Pools remains a place whanau can enjoy safely,"says Dan.
Te Mauri o Waihou's ongoing plans for Forest Pools include working with NIWA to sample water quality, further planting and beautification of the picnic and planting areas and, for tangata whenua to take a greater role in the management of Puketi Omahuta Forest.