New trail run to raise funds for Canterbury covenant
Posted By QEII | December 19, 2022
Established in 1992 by former landowners Ed and Jan Shand, Island Hills Station in North Canterbury boasts a vast nature park of un-grazed mountain, shrub and forest covering 3,300 hectares. Located just 1 hour and 30 minutes north from Christchurch, the property is also home to a 600-hectare QEII open space covenant, one of the biggest in the Canterbury district. It protects many native species, including kea, small leaved daisy tree and the South Island robin.
Dan and Mandy Shand are the fourth generation of owners and in 2004 they set up 30 kms of commercial walking tracks. The 3-day trail, known as Island Hills Station Walking Track, allows people to explore the back-country farmland and forest and passes through the covenant.
In April 2023, this track will be the location for a new trail run, the Skeddadle run for nature, which aims to raise funds for Island Hills Station. Named after the highest point on the property, Mt Skedaddle (1704m), the run will take place on Saturday 29 April and has four distance options; 42km, 30km, 15km and a kids 3km.
While the covenant ensures that the native species that call this area home have a place to flourish, the threat of predators such as possums, deer, stoats, and rats need regular control. Invasive weeds such as gorse, broom and wilding conifers are also on the target list. The downside to pest and weed control is that it requires a lot of traps, baits, spray, monitoring and labour, which comes at a cost.
The Island Hills Station team came up with the idea to host an on-farm trail run to raise funds and awareness for the conservation efforts happening on private land. Island Hills Station site tourism operator Shaun Monk noted the idea came naturally “I combined two of my passions, conservation and trail running and saw a unique way to help us generate money for all the pest and weed control we want to do in the forest” he says.
The Mandamus Preservation Reserve has an active pest control program with bait stations for wasps and possums plus there are currently 156 traps targeting rats, mustelids, and hedgehogs. These traps have been sponsored by track walkers and generous donors, and the trappers are volunteers from the farm’s tourism operation.
“We know that there is a community of people who enjoy trail running and we saw a unique opportunity to share and this special place and this amazing trail with them, while raising money to help us with our conservation efforts.” says Shaun. “All the proceeds are being reinvested into biodiversity for the Mandamus Preservation Reserve and our goal is to reintroduce our most iconic native bird, the kiwi.”
Named after the highest point on the property, Mt Skedaddle (1704m), the run will take place on Saturday 29 April and has four distance options; 42km, 30km, 15km and a kids 3km.
Entries are open until 27 April and early bird pricing ends on 15 January. Find out more about and race and register on the Skedaddle website.