Click to switch to trip home page.

Arthur's Pass National Park, New Zealand

Trip Day Twenty-seven: Friday, October 19, 2007

Great Alpine Highway

Waimakarini Gorge
Lake With A History
Owen Tyler Poses With Our Guide.
A Site for Sheep-farmers to Dream Of ...

Joseph Pearson first grazed his sheep in this area in 1857. The masaic of tussock (bunch grass) and scrub was created over the previous 500 years by natural and human-induced fires. Fires set by early Mãori to clear routes and camp sites had often burned out of control, transforming once-extensive beech forests to tussock and scrub. The sheep-farmers who followed Pearson continued the burning to encourage fresh tussock growth edible for sheep. Fires burned for weeks crating lurid red skies visible from Christchurch. Over grazing degraded the grasslands in the past. Today, these grasslands are managed by controlled grazing and oversowing.

Natural Beech Forests Were Burned To Clear the Land

Click any image to go to the next page.