Submissions invited on Dunstan Downs conservation

Remnants of forest, on Dunstan Downs, which once grew across Lindis Pass. Photo: ODt files
Remnants of forest, on Dunstan Downs, which once grew across Lindis Pass. Photo: ODt files
Submissions are open on a proposal under which 9500ha of high country land, near Omarama, could become conservation land.

A preliminary proposal has been developed for Dunstan Downs, a 12,300ha Crown pastoral lease farmed by the Innes family, which is one of 28 properties in tenure review.

While the Government made the decision to end tenure review in 2018, it was ongoing until changes to the Crown Pastoral Land Act came into effect.

Tenure review is a voluntary process that gives lessees an opportunity to buy some of their leasehold land from the Crown while the remainder returns to the Crown for conservation.

If the proposal went ahead, 9500ha, including part of the St Bathans Range, would contribute to nearby conservation areas and reserves, Commissioner of Crown Lands Craig Harris said in a statement.

The remaining 2800ha of the pastoral lease would become freehold and some areas would be subject to conditions such as conservation covenants.

A summary of the preliminary proposal said the property adjoined the Oteake Conservation Park and conservation areas resulting from tenure reviews at Killermont and Twin Peaks to the east.

To the west, it adjoined conservation areas arising from the Morven Hills tenure review and conservation convenants created from historic reviews in the Lindis Valley.

The St Bathans Range was an impressive mountain range providing a backdrop to views from the Upper Clutha basin and particularly from viewpoints along State Highways 6 and 8.

The Lindis Pass highway adjoined the lease and provided the opportunity to appreciate the impressive landscape of the northern and western flanks of the Dunstan Range, the report said.

The St Bathans Range provided a ‘‘dramatic and remote environment’’ for recreational users including day walks, tramping, mountain bike and horse riding, cross-country skiing and ski touring in winter and more passive pursuits such as fishing, photography, botanising and bird watching.

Use had been limited in the past by remoteness and difficult access.

Much of the significance of the area was from the scale of the landscape involved. That included the vegetation and geological features, the report said.


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