TRM’s email to NZ Forest Managers:
(Please pass this on to whoever in NZFM who knows what is happening at Lake O and can comment ‘officially’…)
TRM is a Turangi motel catering for anglers by providing a regular “blogs”.
On 27 November we repeated the message from DOC’s facebook below:
The Taupo Fishery management team have been notified by the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust of their intention to put a gate across Access Road No. 4, on the western side of the lake. Access onto the forest lands is being changed to manage health and safety concerns.
While access to boat ramps will not be affected, there will be impacts on people attempting to access Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust land to the north of Lake Otamangakau dam.
Restricted access is expected to take effect from early December and will particularly impact on anglers who previously enjoyed the convenience of remote camping beside the lake – including many visiting and international anglers.
Taupo Fishery Manager Dave Conley recognises the recreational value of access to the north arm of the lake and is working hard to find solutions for anglers.
“We should acknowledge and thank the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust for previously allowing access, as anglers have enjoyed many years of excellent fishing and camping as a result.
The northern arm of the lake offers anglers the opportunity to experience wilderness camping, while still having access to their vehicles and the convenience of a short drive to Turangi.”
“We understand the need for the changes to access policy, and are currently working with Genesis Energy, Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust and local hapu to find solutions that will enable anglers to have a similar wilderness camping experience without accessing private forestry land. A ‘site visit’ last week presented an opportunity to explore how these ideas could work on the ground,” Dave added.
Discussions with stakeholders are currently underway, but in the meantime anglers may have to make some changes to their plans for the summer, as lasting solutions may be some months away.
Further information contact NZ Forest Managers Ltd – 07 386 875
Some anglers believe they would lose their annual camping spots etc., which has confused anglers further.
Other anglers are suggesting this is another attempt at charging for access – the precedent being at Flaxy Lake in the Rangitaiki region?
We have also been asked similar questions and requests for assurance by Australian anglers concerned as they have booked here in February-March 2018 to fish Lake O. etc.
Anglers get very emotional about their ‘trophy lake’ – the development of which was regarded as some sort of ‘payback’ for messing around the Tongariro River flows during the hydro development in the 1970’s.(?)
I drove in on “Access Road No. 4” on the western side of Lake O past the usual boat ramp and beyond around the top of the lake but could not find any gate? The access to the lake edge camping spots looks much the same?
Then I drove in on Access Road No. 5 (Wairehu outlet Canal) on the eastern side of Lake O to discover a new gate beyond the launching ramp.
So that would indicate DOC may have got it wrong in their public notice when they refer to closing Access 4 which is most commonly used by anglers? DOC (Dave Conley) also referred to Rotoaira Forest Trust, thanking them for past access, just to confuse the issue further?
Or is the Access 4 gate still to be erected?
Could you please comment on these points in a manner that we can repeat on our website blog and facebook.
NZ Forest Managers reply:
Hi Ross and Pip,
Thank you for your email regarding the changes to access into Rotoaira Forest from Access Roads No 4 and 5. We appreciate that the recent changes will have increased the number of enquiries you will be receiving from clients so hopefully the following provides some clarification.
Rotoaira Forest is a privately owned forest that is accessed from both Access Road No 4 and 5. There is no public access in Rotoaira Forest although up until recently, the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust has allowed access over their lands to the northern arm of Lake Otamangakau.
This has now changed largely due to the newly introduced Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and in recent years, an increase in the number of safety incidents involving unauthorised vehicles within this part of Rotoaira Forest. Additionally, there have been ongoing (and in recent times increasing) incidents of unlawful activity in the wider forest area around Lake Otamangakau. As a consequence of this, access in to Rotoaira Forest is being restricted to authorised persons only and to help manage this both gates and signage have been erected at the end of Access Road No.4 and on Wairehu Road which is accessed off Access Road No.5. The implications of the legislation are now at a level that means managing health and safety risks effectively on private land requires tighter access controls. Access past the gates is restricted for these reasons. Access to the boat ramps and canals has not changed.
The gate at the end of Access Road No.4 was open on Wednesday as we are currently harvesting and trucking out of Access Road No 4. Logging trucks and other forestry traffic are using this road regularly throughout the day. However, although the gate may be open, public access beyond the gate is not permitted. The gate is locked at the end of the working day.
As mentioned in the DOC facebook post that you refer to, anglers have enjoyed vehicular access to the northern arm of the lake for many years.
It is important however to remember that this is private land and the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust has a responsibility to manage all risks effectively and to protect the forest assets and those working within the forest. This will mean that there will no longer be public vehicular access to the northern arm. The Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust is in discussions with DOC to explore alternative access and camping options but at this stage we are unable to comment on this.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.
NZ Forest Managers Ltd
Ph: 07 386 8757
Fax: 07 386 7020
Further official response for anglers on Lake O access:
Further to your enquiry of 30 November I can now confirm the current situation regarding road access to and around Lake Otamangakau. The attached snip from the Walking Access Mapping System (WAMS) shows legal roads as purple lines and public conservation land as dark green. You will see that Rotoaira Rd (SH 47) is the nearest legal road to the lake. Access Road No 4 belongs to Genesis Energy and their title ends at the red dot just north of the Otamangakau dam which, I understand, is where the new gate is sited. From here northwards and around to Access Rd No 5 at the Wairehu Canal the formed road is private on land owned by the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust.
The public have access on legal roads (Rotoaira Rd) as of right. Genesis Energy has an agreement with DOC to allow public access on its roads (Access No 4 and No 5). Access beyond here is with permission of the landowner which, it appears, has now been withdrawn, as is their prerogative. Genesis also allows public access on the lake and around its shores which are part of their land so the entire lake is still accessible on foot or by boat, including the northern arm.
Can I suggest you keep in touch with the DOC fishery people for any further developments regarding access and camping at Lake Otamangakau.
Regional field advisor – Bay of Plenty
New Zealand Walking Access Commission | Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa
M: 021 380 726 | W: www.walkingaccess.govt.nz
Enjoy the short video of Te Whaiau Fish Trap operation…