Craigieburn Forest Park

Craigieburn Forest Park is a 447 km2 (173 sq mi) protected area in the South Island of New Zealand, adjacent to Arthur's Pass National Park to the north.[1]

Craigieburn Forest Park
View to Black Range from Cass River
Craigieburn Forest Park
LocationSouth Island, New Zealand
Nearest cityGreymouth
Coordinates43.1527°S 171.7315°E / -43.1527; 171.7315
Area44,694.78 hectares (110,443.2 acres)
Governing bodyDepartment of Conservation

One of its boundaries lies in part alongside State Highway 73 and is adjacent to the eastern flanks of the Southern Alps.

The Broken River Ski Area and the Craigieburn Valley Ski Area lie within its borders. As with all other public land in New Zealand the Department of Conservation carries out administration for conservation and for regulating commercial activity.

Cass-Lagoon Tramping Track

Hamilton Hut (at the midpoint of the Cass-Lagoon tramp)

This tramp crosses the Cass saddle (1326 meters high) before descending to the comfortable 20 bunk Hamilton Hut. On the second day, after crossing over the Hamilton Creek (via a three-wire bridge) and the Harper river (via a swing bridge), the track meanders up the Harper river passing the Harper Hut before crossing the Lagoon saddle.[2] Near the top of the saddle stands the Lagoon Saddle shelter, built in an A frame style. The track then descends Mount Bruce to the car park at Cora Lynn.

It is a very popular weekend trip as it is easily accessible from Christchurch. It is suitable for experienced trampers only. It is roughly 34 kilometers long and climbs and descends a total of 2100 meters.[3]

Wilding Pines

The New Zealand Forest Service had used the area as an experimental forestry area. The pines (pinus contorta) were originally planted by the Forest Service in the 1960s for erosion control but are now considered a fire risk. They spread quickly and threaten nearby native plantings. There is now an environmental issue with the spread of wilding conifers.

The Department of Conservation was putting in resources in 2020 to eradicate wilding pines within the park. There was concern as wilding pines were described as "marching towards Christchurch". and expected to cover 25% of New Zealand within 15 to 30 years should nothing be done.[4] Pinus contorta seeds can be blown 30 kilometres.[5]

In 2020, workers on the ground were taking out conifer seedlings. At Mount Bruce, chainsaws were being used to cut down 30 hectares of mature Douglas Fir. Helicopters were being used to fly the wood out.[4][6]

Panoramics of Cass Saddle in Craigieburn Forest Park

See also


  1. "Data Table - Protected Areas - LINZ Data Service". Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  2. "Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track". Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  3. "Tramping in Canterbury: Cass-Lagoon saddle track". Stuff. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  4. "Wilding pine efforts ramp up in North Canterbury". Stuff. 10 June 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  5. "Wilding pines: Eternal vigilance needed, even with $100 million investment". Stuff. 16 October 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  6. "The high country battleground". Stuff. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2021.