The new owners of the Sapphire Springs Motor Camp are planning to greatly improve the pool and camp facilities, and work through a coordinated pest management process with Wild about NZ to improve local biodiversity. Recent surveys with visiting school groups revealed the presence of the usual array of animal pests – plenty of rodents, possums and sightings of stoats. There are also many different weed species occupying areas where the tree canopy is open and along track margins.
Despite a huge number of improvements planned for the camp the Anderton family have not wasted any time getting pest management underway. After GPSing the walking tracks and a training session on the use of possum traps the family team are underway. http://www.wildaboutnz.co.nz/projects/sapphire-springs-reserve/After possum numbers are reduced to a low level rodent control will begin, hopefully in time for the next nesting season.
The reserve contains some very interesting natural features which local school groups use for their environmental studies. The rocky stream is very accessible and ideal for stream life surveys and the regenerating bush contains representatives of most of the species found within the Kaimai forest, including the regionally threatened native fern Hypolepsis dicksoniodes. There are other botanical highlights too including a very old puriri tree (aged by a visiting expert at around
600 years) and a thicket of kauri rickers near an escapement that offers a great view over the stream valley. There are also many fine examples of the effects of invasive weeds on the bush are also abundant! Bird calls are currently few and far between but there are regular sightings of kereru and tui.