A view of Levin, Lake Horowhenua and the Tasman Sea from the top of the Trig Road Lookout.
An extremely popular footbridge crossing private forest land directly east of Levin will temporarily close as soon as the trees are ready to harvest.
The Trig walkway was extremely popular with the public with around 2000 people walking or cycling the track each week in the height of summer. Stunning views of the coastline await anyone who makes it to the top.
Harvesting of the 94-hectare block will begin on January 9, 2023 and is expected to last 18 months. When the forest block has been completely cleared, around mid-2024, the walkway will reopen to walkers and cyclists.
The Kohitere Forest Block was owned by Australian company Norsewood Estate Limited and managed by New Zealand-based Forest Enterprises since 2019, which was responsible for forest health, access and harvesting operations.
Logging companies were providing the public with an alternative walking trail during the Trig Road block closure. He had built a walking track on the other side of the hill so the public could maintain access to the top of Trig, with parking available at the track entrance on Gladstone Road.
Forest Enterprises Operations Manager Chris Hawthorn was on site at the Gray Bush Track this week and on the tools himself, helping clear the bush in anticipation of public access to the road during the Trig closure Road.
He said the company was aware of the popularity of Trig Road and wanted to do what it could to ensure there was an alternative available to the public during the necessary routine harvest.
“It’s a pretty nice walk – a bit steep at first so you need decent shoes – but it levels out and goes through some native bush. It’s less convenient, but it’s a nice walk,” he said.
The Trig Road block was originally planted with pinus radiata by residents of the Kohitere Boys’ Home decades ago. This crop was harvested in 1992 and replanted, and now this crop was ready to harvest.
The crop rotation cycle was approximately every 28 years. The next generation of trees were carefully selected from seed in Rotorua and raised in Woodville at Murray Nurseries.
When ready for planting, the new trees would be spaced at 1,000 stems per hectare. After a few years, there would be a thinning of non-performing trees to nearly half that number, with the remainder left to fully mature.
Hawthorn said the target yield was 750 tons per hectare. Each tree weighed an average of 1.67 tons. At least 70% of the trees would be processed by local company Mitchpine, with the rest likely to go overseas.
He said most of the trees were pinus radiata, although there were a very small number of Douglas firs planted in 1964 that would also be harvested. The block would then be replanted with the next generation of trees the following winter, at the rate of 2,000 saplings per week.
Hawthorn said when harvest is complete, the Trig Road Track will reopen to walkers and cyclists, and Forest Enterprises will seek to work with Levin Mountain Biking Club to restore existing mountain bike trails that were expected to suffer damage during the harvest.
The public has been urged to heed the closure for their own safety and should also take care due to the increased number of logging trucks near the area during harvest time.
The Gray Bush Track would remain open after harvest.