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Silvermine Mountain

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
Jeremysetzer
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:26 pm

Silvermine Mountain

Unread post by Jeremysetzer » Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:33 pm

Hi there.

I am wondering if anyone has any idea when Silvermine (East) will be reopened? It has been 3 months since the fire now.

I understand Silvermine West and the Dam area will take more time to get ready but the Eastern area seems to be healing well.

No one can give me an idea of when it will be reopened and all the reasons given for the closure are a bit, well, irrelevant now.

I have seen people sneaking into the area numerous times and I just wonder if there wasn't an announcement from TMNP it might help matters somewhat.

Thanks.

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MATTHYS
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Re: Silvermine Mountain

Unread post by MATTHYS » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:50 pm

Hi and welcome to the forums, Jeremysetzer.

I don't know when Silvermine (East) will be reopened, but will refer your query to SANParks PR.
aquila non capit muscas

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MATTHYS
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Re: Silvermine Mountain

Unread post by MATTHYS » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:54 pm

Thank you :gflower: to Tarcia Hendricks, Public Relations Officer: Cape Region, South African National Parks and TMNP Area Manager Gavin Bell for this reply :

We foresee the Silvermine East section of the park re-opened by end of September this year. Silvermine East has a vast network of footpaths, most of which were damaged in the fire and therefore footpath teams are still working throughout the area completing rehabilitation work.

The area remains very sensitive and unsafe due to the following reasons:

1. Due to the sandy nature of soils in that section, these paths are still fairly indistinguishable. This makes it challenging for hikers to remain on the correct approved pathway and risks people accidentally trampling on new seeds and shooting plants. Teams of footpath builders have immediately been allocated to rebuild these paths and return safe access for park visitors.

2. Most fynbos fires will leave pockets of unburnt vegetation within the overall burnt area; or within the adjacent areas for animals to find refuge. The extent of this fire resulted in very few such refuges remaining and great distances to adjacent unburnt areas. Opening the entire area to visitors will cause disturbance to these animals. For example animals with very little cover would be exposed to predators if disturbed by users.

3. Most footpaths are either completely destroyed or partially indistinct due to the heat of the fire or the movement of sand and ash. This causes people to wander into the veld and form a number of new paths. This leads to additional trampling of the germinating plants, bulbs and underground stems that have been stimulated by the fire.

4. Most wooden structures in the boardwalks, steps and soil retaining structures have been burnt making these areas unstable and dangerous to visitors. Even rock steps and have collapsed due to the heat of the fire. These are also being replaced to return accessibility.

5. The soils are general very erodible and the heat of the fire and now absence of vegetation exacerbates soil erosion. People walking off paths also disturb these sensitive soils.

6. The rehabilitation process is currently under-way in various burnt sections of the park and the opening of the sites will be phased during over a six month to twenty four month period.

We are however pleased to announce that teams are in the process of marking out demarcated pathways for hikers eg. route markers in order to prevent further damage to the area. The rain has interrupted work somewhat but hikers can be assured of the fact that our aim is to ensure long term use of these footpaths.

We understand that users are eager to access these areas and we assure you that part of our rehabilitation plan includes the critical need to return access for recreational users. Work on footpaths and boardwalks are making good progress and it is best practice to ensure high quality of work which may take a bit of time.

We ask that people please assist us by being patient and remaining out of all burnt areas while Mother Nature heals herself.

We will be sure to communicate all changes.
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