Conservation Volunteers Leave Tracks at CUE Haven!–October 10-14
A large part of the CUE Haven property is bisected by a stream that flows through a deep gully which is full of mature temperate rain forest vegetation. Up until now, visitors haven’t been able to safely explore the gully vegetation because there was no easy (or safe) way to walk down into the gully. And in the wet winter months, when the stream and waterfalls are most interesting, it was virtually impossible to get down.
That has all changed this week thanks to the amazing efforts of a dedicated group of Conservation Volunteers. They worked in wet, muddy, slippery conditions to cut a walking track, build steps down to the stream and bridge across the stream.
Ian Smith of Conservation Volunteers visited CUE Haven last month and together we walked out the proposed track. Based on his experience in the field, Ian was able to help us determine the materials we would need to construct the track, steps and bridge. We ordered the timber and building materials and everything was ready and waiting for the team when they arrived on Monday morning.
The team was led by John Busson and included Adrian, Robert, Ronja and Miriam from Germany, Nuria from Belgium and Simon from New Zealand.
Because of the difficulty of getting long boards down into the gully (and because there was no power available down there) we decided to measure out everything in the field and then cut the timber to the proper lengths in the nursery. Ian and Simon did the sawing.
In the meantime, John took the team up to the starting point of the track and they began to cut the trail.
On Tuesday the weather took a turn for the worse and it started to rain. And rain. The entire work site quickly became a quagmire. Not only was it messy, it was also very slippery and getting up and down the slopes could be an adventure.
Nevertheless, the group continued forging ahead with the track and we soon reached the point where it was necessary to install steps down into the gully. While part of the team worked on the steps, the rest continued on clearing vegetation and extending the track.
And after two days of hard work, we had a safe and easy way down to the stream:
The next challenge was to build the bridge over the stream. First we had to carry the entire bridge down to the site in pieces.
The next task was to dig holes for the posts that would support the bridge.
The rain kept coming but the team didn’t want to stop working. They even ate their lunch and took their breaks in the field.
Once the posts were secure, half of the team continued to work on assembling the bridge and the other half continued working on the other side of the stream, digging out the steps to go up.
Once the framework of the bridge was assembled it went together very quickly.
As soon as the bridge was finished the whole team got together to test it out!
The rain and the mud continued to create interesting challenges for the group but no one complained.
On Friday they had to allocate extra time to clean up:
We were really impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of the team. They were a great group to work with and we can’t thank them enough for all their hard work and the fantastic results they achieved.
But it wasn’t all hard work. On Thursday, the group took time to celebrate John’s birthday with a chocolate cake. They sang Happy Birthday in English and German.
And on Friday, we had a farewell Pavlova and a belated birthday celebration for Ronja.
Once again we want to say thanks to the team for all their hard work and enthusiasm and a special thank you to John for organising the work and keeping everyone busy and safe. Thanks also to Ian for all his help with the track project.
This is only the first phase of the gully track project. This summer we will be extending the track further into the bush and putting in some additonal steps and bridgework. We hope you will all come back to CUE Haven to see us again and to explore the completed track!