Myrtle Rust Threat

DOC are asking for your help as New Zealand faces a major biosecurity threat to native plants with the discovery of Myrtle Rust.

The fungal plant disease Myrtle Rust (Austropuccinia psidii) has been confirmed at Kerikeri in Northland and at Waitara in Taranaki by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in May 2017.

Myrtle Rust can have serious consequences for various species of plants in the myrtle family, including New Zealand native plants such as:

Pōhutukawa

Ramarama

Rata

Rōhutu

Mānuka

Swamp maire

Kānuka

 

Introduced plants including, feijoa, eucalypts and bottle brushes are also susceptible to Myrtle Rust

DOC is working closely with MPI trying to restrict the spread of the disease. DOC staff are actively looking out for potentially infected plants in the wild. The impact on native forests will be noticeable if Myrtle Rust becomes established.

DOC began seed collection of potentially affected species some years ago and the urgency to get full representation of all Myrtaceous native species is imperative.

The THREAT

The disease could be on any plants from an infected area taken to a revegetation site. It can also be carried on clothing or vehicles. Myrtle Rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind, or via insects, birds, people, or machinery.

If it becomes widespread it will impact all of New Zealand’s Myrtaceae to some degree and we are likely to lose some native species in their natural state. Ecological integrity will be compromised in places where myrtles are a dominant species. It is also likely to affect commercial activities (e.g. manuka honey industry), tourism, recreation and landscape values.

It is very important community planting groups, volunteers and all those who go into the forest follow certain hygiene protocols to restrict the spread of the wind-borne disease. Revegetation work is a potential vector for spreading Myrtle Rust. People doing voluntary conservation work of any type, could inadvertently spread the disease.

Community Group Action

If you are growing plants

Commercial plant nurseries are required by MPI to comply with NZPPI protocols of plant hygiene. Other plant nurseries are requested to comply with these protocols so the next link in the chain is where the plants go to from the nurseries.

At this time, DOC is encouraging community groups to adopt the same protocols to lower the possibility of any further spread of myrtle rust and to keep an eye out for Myrtle Rust.  

If you are planning to plant

For groups located in Northland and Taranaki regions, Myrtaceous plants should not be planted at any planting days coming up, unless the disease is declared to be eradicated before the proposed planting date. For all other plant species, it is advisable to ensure the nursery of origin has been adhering to the NZPPI hygiene protocols and you keep a record of number of plants by species, their origin and planting location, as these plants can still be a vector.

For all other regions, planting of Myrtaceous species may proceed if plants are not sourced from Northland or Taranaki. Ensure the nursery of origin has been adhering to the NZPPI hygiene protocols and keep a record of number of plants by species, their origin and planting location.

For commercial nurseries, you can check the Nursery Management Declaration (http://nzppi.co.nz/documents/pests/MR-Nursery-Management-Declaration.pdf) from the relevant supplier nursery to ensure plants were inspected and treated at the source nursery as per NZPPI guidelines. This will ensure appropriate checks are in place at two levels (supplier nursery as well as the receiving nurseries) to identify and remove suspect Myrtle Rust infected plants from the trade chain.

Hygiene Recommendations for Community Groups:

  • Check any myrtaceae plants for symptoms of myrtle rust
  • If you are bringing myrtaceae plants in, check the site the plants are coming from has been surveyed for symptoms of Myrtle Rust.
  • If you suspect Myrtle Rust, please take a photo and report to MPI (0800 80 99 66). Don’t move any plants, produce or gardening equipment offsite until you hear back from MPI.

 

If you find anything suspicious 

1. Do not move the plants from the site or your truck.

2. Take photos of the suspected Myrtle Rust and the whole plant.

3. Do not attempt to touch or collect samples as this may increase the spread of this disease.

4. If possible, isolate the plants with an igloo-hoop-like plastic cover.

5. Call MPI’s exotic pests and diseases hotline on 0800 80 99 66.

 

More information

More information can be found on

 

DOC thanks you for your support and if you have any questions about your response to Myrtle Rust, please contact:

Paul Thornton

 Acting Operations Manager

Nelson Lakes District

E          jwotherspoon@doc.govt.nz

T          03 521 1068

Nelson is a Gold Ride Centre

(Media Release 6th August 2015)
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has accredited Nelson as a Gold Level Ride Centre, joining a select group of locations around the world deemed to be of the highest riding standard. IMBA Trails Specialist Jason Wells completed the trails assessment last week, and left Nelson to return to the US with a lasting impression of the very high standard of riding, as well as the ease of accessibility.
The Gold Ride Centre status covers all of the mountainbike trails within a defined radius of a city centre, so encapsulates the full network of trails between the Hira Forest in the Maitai Valley, right through the front country between Nelson and Richmond, to Rabbit Island and the Kaiteriteri Mountainbike Park. Wells was particularly complimentary in his assessment on the wide variety of riding experience on offer in this region together with the ease of accessibility - something that is very unique in his experience with IMBA'S Ride Centre program. Wells also recognised those trails that have clearly been constructed with IMBA's sustainable design/build approach in mind, commenting favourably on how these trail tick all of IMBA's boxes.
MTB Trails Trust Chair Chris Mildon is excited with the result, and the potential of an important international marketing presence for the region: "Gaining Gold Ride Centre status at such short notice is a real reflection of the capability of the Trails Trust team - with minimal preparation time before the assessment, the solid and energetic team approach from our Trustees made all the difference. The result for the region shouldn't be under estimated, with a global market looking to IMBA for its recommendations of where to ride. While our mountainbike trail system is first and foremost a community asset, the regional benefits of drawing mountainbike visitors to ride and holiday here can only be a good thing. Many small towns in Europe and the US, such as Oakridge in Oregon, have recognised the importance of mountainbiking to growing their economies and are actively promoting the development of high quality trail networks, providing facilities such as toilets and bike washes at trailheads to support this.
The Trust is also thankful to the stakeholders who got in behind this Ride Centre Accreditation, and we are pretty happy that our region's trails, and the dedication of the many people and organisations over the last 20 odd years involved with trail development has culminated in this Gold level recognition"

Credit: Grant Stirling - Ang Edridge and Lorene Wallace framing Tasman Bay at Silvan Forest
IMBA have until this year only ever accredited one Gold Ride Centre, Park City in Utah. A high level of interest in 2015 in the Ride Centre program has seen five other Gold Ride Centres added, three of those in the US and two in New Zealand - Nelson and Rotorua. Nelson and Rotorua now hold an enviable place as the only two locations outside of the US accredited at this level, and join Taupo which has held a Silver Ride Centre level for the last three years.

IMBA Accreditation (almost done!)

Regional benefits. Its a phrase that really gets the attention of people and in the case of the IMBA Ride Centre assessment, is gelling with all the right people. Positive media interest is always a sign that things are on the right track, and Simon Bloomberg and the Waimea Weekly are often among the first to pick things up and run with them.

Check out this article on NelsonLive. Covers things off nicely, and also includes a little bit of gopro footage around the Centre Of NZ, which was a lot of fun on a rainy day!

Helen Murdoch at the Nelson Mail also got on board with some coverage for us, and their article can be read here.

IMBA Ride Centre Application (updated 20th July)

The MTB Trails Trust is following an important part of its strategy, in achieving real recognition of the region's appeal as an international MTB destination. By making an application to the International Mountainbike Association (IMBA) to have Nelson/Richmond recognised as a Ride Centre, we have taken the first steps to a level of international marketing and presence that is very difficult to achieve through most other means (and without a lot of resource!)

The application will be assessed by IMBA between July 24th and 28th, and the MTB Trails Trust will be guiding the IMBA field officer around our trail resource and facilities in person. The scope of the trails assessment will be from the Hira Forest through to the Hackett and Rabbit Island, which fits with the 15km radius from a city centre IMBA stipulation. The field visit is costing a few dollars, and $12,300 is the cost to have the application run through the full process. The MTBTT is using its own funding to meet this fee, and welcomes partners who can help meet these costs.

Organisations such as the NCC, TDC, Nelson Tasman Tourism and the Economic Development Agency, and AFM/Hancocks are fully on board with their support. NCC especially are putting some real effort into ensuring this weekend's assessment will be as successful as possible, with a pushed maintenance schedule being run through the Dun Mountain Trail to help have this gem riding as sweet as it can be. The NMTBC is also supportive and has wished the MTBTT the best of luck with the assessment.

So if you're out riding this weekend and see us around the trails, do send a warm welcome to our IMBA visitor and make sure he understands just how important we view our resource!

There aren't that many Ride Centres around the world, and only one other in NZ - Taupo, which has Silver status. If successful, and there isn't any reason why we shouldn't be, the Nelson/Richmond area would join a very exclusive list of locations round the world who have there trail network working with broad appeal and fantastic riding experiences. 

You can read the initial application here.

Council Long Term Plan Submissions

The MTB Trails Trust has made submissions to both the TDC and NCC 2015-2025 Long term Plans, and will speak at public submission hearings when that process opens.

It is important to keep mountainbike potential, both for the community and the region (through domestic and international visitors) on council radar, and using the LTP submission process to get this information in front of councillors is an opportunity that must be taken. While the Trust is also part of the Regional Cycling Forum (RCF), and that forum has submitted on behalf of the many and varied cycling interests in Nelson/Tasman, we feel that mountainbiking potential needs to be more strongly identified, as well as showing councils that there has already been a ton of strategic planning around making this region really work in the off-road space. The RCF is pushing back on NCC to develop a coherent plan - however the MTBTT has already done most of the work required in this space to pull the varied land-owner interests together and show that a well-networked, overview trail plan is already in place, which is the basis for our submissions. There is a layer of detail that sits beneath this overview plan for each individual trail cluster, and defining what that is will develop as each area is considered.

Council's have clearly fed back through their staff that they don't understand this area too well, and the recent knock back of the Nelson MTB Club's proposal to build a new trail on Fringed Hill has identified and highlighted this lack of understanding. NCC particularly want to know how everything fits together, and the MTBTT is using its submission to try to increase councillors understanding (and buy-in) so that they might invest appropriately in this area, while also supporting the wonderful delivery that is already happening in the volunteer and in-kind space.

Read the MTBTT's submissions here.

DOC Conservation Events Newsletter Nov

Check out all the DOC opportunities around volunteer events for November here. And if you'd like to sign up and receive this newsletter directly from DOC you can use this link to do that.

DOC Conservation Events Newsletter

DOC produce a great monthly newsletter for the Nelson/Tasman area, and it's full of opportunities to get involved with conservation in a wide range of areas. Check the October issue out here

A BC Adventure

This year’s expedition was to British Columbia because it has such a huge reputation for miles of single-track. My riding buddy Sharon Prutton had entered the BC Bike Race. Seven days racing on some of the best trails in Western BC. I decided that I would prefer to look at these places in a more leisuredly fashion so we agreed to meet at the end of the racing and explore further afield.

After assembling our bikes we had a pleasant ride on the cycle trails of Vancouver and around Stanley Park. It was quite a contrast to our next ride where we checked out one of the Enduro stages of Sharon’s race, a trail called “Expresso” on the hills of North Vancouver. There were big rock features to cross as well as some of those famous scary structures that feature in U-tube videos. Shaza decide she might have to walk these in the race but as it turned out the pressure and excitement of racing took over and she didn’t get off her bike!

In Powell River I rode the course of the BC Bike Race. One of the cool features was on a trail called “Aloha” that had Hawaiian dolls and a bridge that was specially built for the race. The trail went under the bridge then curved up the hillside and looped over the bridge.

I stayed at the world famous “Riding Fool Hostel” in Cumberland on Vancouver Island. It has a bike shop and café in the same building – how organised is that? Cumberland had a great network of trails starting at the end of the street of the Hostel. Again there were lots of structures on trails like “Thirsty Beaver” and “Mad Butcher”. I was told that a rider was tackling a tricky teeter-totter on “Mad Butcher” when he looked down to see a Cougar lying beside it. Needless to say he didn’t stop for a selfie.

I had an “Island Mountain Rides” trip from Cumberland to ride on Hornby Island. Roy and Susie from Scotland joined me and our guide, Gaylyn. We took Gaylyn’s vehicle across the ferry to Denman Island, drove to the other side of the Island, then abandoned the vehicle and took our bikes across the ferry to Hornby Island. Straight off the ferry we were climbing the trail up the edge of the cliffs and so it didn’t take long before we had great views back to Cumberland. We carried pebbles up to the highest point (about 300m) to contribute to a growing cairn. Good karma! Smooth trails were the norm. Probably the best known was “Four Dead Aliens” a cool swooping trail down a gully. We took time out to visit the craft market and had a swim at a gorgeous beach. Great day!

In Squamish I caught up with the race and Sharon again. I joined in the race by setting off 5 minutes after everyone had left and didn’t take long to catch the carthorses at the back of the field. It was fun working my way through the field and not having to think about the direction at the next junction. The route led us in to some great trails, including the fabulous, famous “Half Nelson”. I also came across a couple of crashes and was able to provide some duct tape to help stabilize the end of a stretcher.  There were Enduro stages in the race, usually marked by two dancing gorillas and loud music!

I also rode in the final day’s race at Whistler. It was shorter but still gave us a good sample of the variety of trails including everything from all out downhill to flowy, smooth cross country. It began to rain near the end of the race, great timing.

After a few days we headed east to the Chilcotins where we flew in to a remote Lake in a float plane. It was a gorgeous clear morning. Warner Lake as we landed was calm and mirroring the snowy peaks around it. It was six hours of blissful riding as we cruised back down the valley and made a side trip to Spruce Lake on the way.  Stunning scenery and a great trail all the way.

After a couple of pleasant days in Sicamous we continued to Revelstoke. Bad weather was forecast for later in the week so we headed for our first epic, Keystone Standard Basin on our first day. It was about 50k out of town and 20k up a winding gravel forestry road to the trailhead. A tough initial climb soon turned into easy winding trail among the stunted trees and alpine meadows. Small lakes abounded with patches of snow in the shadier corners. This was the first day the trail was open as it had been off limits for Caribou calving. We were surprised to find another group of riders at the far end of the ride, including a Kiwi. It was an out and back ride of about 22 km with rock, waterfalls, exposure, and miles of magnificent mountain scenery.

Frisby Ridge was the other epic from Revelstoke. It was created relatively recently and involved about 700m climbing over 13 km to a small lake before turning around to whoop back down. As we climbed there were more and more snow patches. They were pretty difficult to ride, the front wheel just slid out or you became bogged down. We reached the highest point though and revelled (that’s what Revelstoke is about) in the descent.

Heading south from Revelstoke we had a nice ride in historic New Denver including a unique Flying Fox river crossing. Then we visited Nelson BC before heading to Rossland, a pleasant small ski town near the US border. There was a great trail network that we explored over three days of relaxing rides before we tackled the big one, the Seven Summits.

The day dawned cloudy and cold but the locals told us it would burn off so we set off in the shuttle to the Nancy Greene Trailhead. As we climbed the weather became claggier, windier, and colder and it began to snow. We put on all our wet and cold weather gear but the crud persisted and our brake fingers became frozen. We decided to pull the pin and take one of the optional exits off the top of the range. Despite it appearing straightforward on our map it was anything but and we went round in a circle to end up back on the main trail. We decided to push on to where there was a ski field road crossing the trail and we were able to use that to make our escape.

Next day we cleaned our bikes in preparation for our trip home. It was a nine-hour journey back to Vancouver, leaving unfinished business behind us, and an excuse for coming back to sample more of the Beautiful BC riding.

Sharon checking out

Sharon checking out "Expresso" before the Espresso

Cool bridge on the Aloha Trail - Powell River

Cool bridge on the Aloha Trail - Powell River

The appropriately named hostel

The appropriately named hostel

BC Bike Race in full swing - Cumberland

BC Bike Race in full swing - Cumberland

A tough day at the office for Gaylyn of

A tough day at the office for Gaylyn of "Island Mounatin Rides"

Roy admiring the view, Hornby Island

Roy admiring the view, Hornby Island

Warren and Lisa enjoying the race-Squamish

Warren and Lisa enjoying the race-Squamish

Riding at Squamish with local, Don

Riding at Squamish with local, Don

Dropped off by float plane

Dropped off by float plane

Warner Lake reflections

Warner Lake reflections

Chilcotin cruising

Chilcotin cruising

Miles of scenery and cool trail

Miles of scenery and cool trail

Climbing to Keystone Basin

Climbing to Keystone Basin

Keystone Basin, classic helmet hair!

Keystone Basin, classic helmet hair!

Snow down!

Snow down!

View from the top, Frisby Ridge

View from the top, Frisby Ridge

Sharon cools her sore knee on Frisby Ridge

Sharon cools her sore knee on Frisby Ridge

A novel creek crossing on the Galena Trail

A novel creek crossing on the Galena Trail

Sharon climbs to the snow on Seven Summits

Sharon climbs to the snow on Seven Summits