Senior Section Ranger, Jonathan Britton has given an account of the recent fish kills in Swartvlei. According to Britton, ‘the numbers of dead fish collected have decreased significantly. Below is a summary of the numbers collected so far each day from the 22nd June until the 25th:
- Monday 22 June: 35
- Tuesday 23 June: 85
- Wednesday 24 June: 4
- Thursday 25 June: 9
Concerned citizens spotted dead fish in Sedgefield. The SANParks team of rangers went to collect them and realized only the Grunter species of fish had died. SANParks scientist, Kyle Smith has collected water samples to test the levels of salinity in the water where most dead fish were collected.
SANParks and the Tsitsikamma Tourism Board request citizens near the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park to allow the law to take its course. The community is shocked by the recent rape incident next to the National Park. SANParks is tightening partnerships with law enforcement agencies to patrol and monitor the vast, extensive areas of the Park. ‘We are also planning to meet with other neighbouring stakeholders to ensure all play an active role in watching over the area. The Park is a significant contributor to the economy of the town.
Garden Route National Park Environmental Planner, Maretha Alant identified an invasive alien species (salvinia molesta) very close to the Municipal weir in Karata. She then roped in the Biodiversity Social Programme (BSP) Manager, Walter Mzimba to organise urgent teams to remove the invader plant.
The team in Wilderness has thought of ways to better the Outeniqua hiking trail for its users. The trail is a 7 -day trail with 8 overnight huts. It is a 108 kilometer hike in total. Hikers would traditionally begin in Beervlei (Hut 1), then head over to Windmeulnek, then Platbos, Millwood, Rondebossie, Diepwalle, Fisantehoek to end up in Harkerville (Knysna).
The Afromontane forests of the Southern Cape, most of them part of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) are up for a listing on the World Heritage List (UNESCO- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).
Two Hiking trails in the Knysna forest also part of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) recently received Green Flag status. Perdekop (9, 5 kilometer nature walk) and Olifants (in Diepwalle) hiking trails were accredited by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA) on the 14 May 2015.
SANParks has received the first report from the State Vet who was consulted to conduct extensive tests on birds subsequent to recent bird kills. ‘Clinical Tests have come back negative for avian influenza (bird flu) and Newcastle disease’.
The dual race event comprising of walks, running and open-water swims has the town of Wilderness and Sedgefield buzzing with excitement.
Due to the open-access nature of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), it is enjoyed by those who love the outdoors and adventure seekers. Outdoor activities for most in the Garden Route may include dog walking.
Subsequent to 113 mm of rain on Saturday (the 04th April), the De Vasselot Rest Camp in Natures Valley was closed and hikers and campers relocated to the main camp in Storms River, Tsitsikamma.
The Area Manager of the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park, Sandra Taljaard says "members of the public may have recently noticed bird mortalities in some of the lakes of the Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park. South African National Parks is aware of this situation and is closely monitoring and investigating the matter".
The team in the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) is prioritizing partnerships in rescue missions in the forestry areas as well as water bodies. A prime example this week was a training session held with the Eden Metro Emergency Services (EMS).
The concerted efforts of the Eden District Municipality to host the upcoming Man and Biosphere (MAB) workshop in Wilderness, resulted in the Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) declaring its first Open Day for 2015.
Visitors to the Ebb & Flow rest camp (Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park) can now traverse the Kingfisher Trail on a Segway.
The recent increase in activity tariffs in the GRNP was informed by the National Conservation Fee Policy of SANParks (2011). This policy was established to guide the organisation based on recommendations made by McKinsey Business Consultants. The guideline is to implement a system of differential pricing (market-related) for entry into all Parks.
"Between April 2014 and October 2014, 85 people were fined and five arrested for environmental crimes related to the Knysna estuary. There were seven court appearances and 23 warrants of arrests", according to Owen Govender, Senior Section Ranger, Knysna, Garden Route National Park (GRNP).
Next Monday, 2 February 2015, marks World Wetlands Day.
A letter from the General Manager: Garden Route National Park, Jill Bunding Venter:
The first month of every new year is normally a time for resolutions, new hopes, determination and a fresh lease on life. And while this is true for the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), it has also become a time for reflecting over the past year. 2014 was not only the year which marked twenty years in South Africa’s young democracy, it also marked the 50th year of successful management of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA).
Following complaints from citizens that toilet paper was seen floating in the estuary, Professor Brian Allanson (‘Prof’) of the Knysna Basin Project reported on the cause of the evident sea lettuce/ macro-algae to the Knysna Pollution Action Committee (SANParks, Knysna Municipality, Eden District Municipality and the Knysna Basin Project).
Kindly note that maintenance work on the main suspension bridge in the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp will commence on 12 January 2015.
Watch a Youtube video of a group of friends who went canoeing from Ebb & Flow Rest Camp in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park.
Subsequent to a recent drowning incident in the Knysna estuary, SANParks (managers of the Garden Route National Park which includes the Knysna estuary) have requested citizens to exercise caution this summer season.
As South Africa’s top conservation agency, SANParks encourages green and responsible tourism. The Garden Route National Park (GRNP) is a mosaic of landscapes and seascapes, a haven for birds and animals including seabirds, rare and endangered species. And while the GRNP invites all kinds of adventure seekers, it also wishes a safe festive season to all its visitors, ensuring that they only leave footprints behind and take away lifelong memories.
Knysna is officially a place of hope for marine life as it was declared a Hope Spot on 7 December 2014, by Dr Sylvia Earle, global marine biologist and diver. Speaking at a launch cocktail function, Earle said the Southern Cape coastline is beautiful and worth conserving.
In accordance with the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act No. 57 of 2003) and the regulations promulgated in terms of that Act, SANParks is authorized under Section 50 to allow commercial activities in a national park.
The Knysna estuary is a natural system where levels of bacteria can fluctuate at any time. Higher than acceptable levels of ecoli were recorded recently from two consecutive samples collected from at least 14 points in the Knysna estuary. SANParks will be putting up signage to warn against full body recreational activities as stipulated by the Department of Water Affairs regulation, by Friday (28 November 2014).
Guests to the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) can now canoe down its meandering picture-perfect lakes and rivers. This trip promises an adventure through the Park’s lush indigenous forests.
6 of the 7 water samples collected from Swartvlei were compliant and lower than the Department of Water Affairs’ permitted 500 mark for recreational sites. The Swartvlei mouth was compliant at 51 per 100 milliliters. SANParks has thus removed signs warning people not to swim at the estuary’s mouth. General Manager of the Garden Route National Park (SANParks), Jill Bunding-Venter, says the rest of the sample readings were (also compliant):
The Garden Route National Park was proclaimed in March 2009, including the then Tsistikamma NP; Wilderness NP; Knysna Lakes and indigenous forest, covering an area of 160 000 km.