There is always room for further consultation in a public participation process as not everyone will be happy with the end result.
Wayne Bolton who plans to cycle 6,000 kilometers to 19 National Parks around the country began his expedition on the 28th November 2015. His expedition "One land, love it" has promised to strengthen ranger corps efforts against the plight of rhino poaching. So says Bolton "we will contribute much needed anti-poaching equipment to the men and women on the ground - rangers who risk their lives to protect our wildlife".
09 January 2016 - The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) can confirm that the DEA, South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Tsitsikamma Angling Forum (representatives of the Tsitsikamma fishing community) have reached a settlement agreement with the Friends of the Tsitsikamma Association, to stop the pilot recreational angling project in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA).
Two water samples collected from where the Indian Ocean meets the Knysna estuary (Knysna Heads) and also in the ocean on both Friday and Saturday morning tested positive. There is a definite presence of dinoflagellates in both water samples. Both Professor Brian Allanson of the Knysna Basin Project and Professor Bornman of the NRF/ SEAON agree there is a red tide. Bornman’s tests were conducted in the Algoa coastline (Port Elizabeth).
It is exactly five days to the start of the pilot phase to allow fishing in 4 controlled zones in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area. The pilot is an action from an agreement signed between SANParks and representatives of the Tsitsikamma community (Tsitsikamma Angling Forum and Koukamma Municipality).
On 19 December 2015 Sedgefield will not only see the Slow Town Fun Run hosted at Myoli Beach at 9am but will once again welcome last year’s highly successful amateur Sand Castle Building competition hosted by Knysna Tourism.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SANParks, Fundisile Mketeni signed an agreement with representatives of the Tsitsikamma community to pilot fishing in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA).
Media Release: Minister Molewa publishes regulations on the rezoning of Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area
23 November 2015 - The Minister of Environmental Affairs has published draft regulations for the re-zonation of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area, for public comments.
A one of a kind carnival launched for the first time in Tsitsikamma by SANParks in partnership with private companies in the area. Speaking at the event, Mayor of Koukamma, Sam Vuso, said "the event was a platform to unite the small town to strive towards working together".
Open access National Parks globally experience similar challenges, according to the National Geographic Traveller. Such challenges also experienced by the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), include invasive alien species, the management of wildlife in vastly open unfenced areas, climate change, development, pollution of resources and others.
The carcass of a badly decomposed whale that was spotted floating in the Swartvlei, washed up at the Swartvlei beach next to the parking lot this morning.
The Garden Route National Park Fun Mountain Bike Ride was held on the 7th of November 2015 and served to initiate a new cycling route, "Graspad", which commences at the Kranshoek Gate in the Harkerville forest (Knysna). The organiser from Muddyfoot Adeventures, James Stewart confirmed the route for the fun day to be 25 kilometers which included 12km of the Graspad route. The event was created to give back to cyclists who purchase annual permit tags.
All day trails as well as Day 1 of the famous Otter Trail are closed in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP). This is due to the heavy and intermittent rain since yesterday, 1 November 2015 and this morning, 2 November 2015. The Park has closed the trails as a precautionary measure and fears of hikers slipping because of wet conditions.
Last year’s tariffs were restructured. This year clients will pay the same rate plus CPI (Consumer Price Index). This is to accommodate any estimated changes in prices for the period 2015/2016.
The Garden Route National Park (GRNP) and Muddy Foot Adventures are organising a cycling fun race with a difference for Saturday, 07 November 2015. Using the Route Book (Rally Style) and odometers to navigate, each team follows the prescribed route and visits strategically located checkpoints on the course.
The Provincial Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT: Eastern Cape) organised a colourful event in the Storms River Rest Camp, Tsitsikamma on the 29th September 2015.
A total of 4, 383 South Africans visited the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) during SA National Parks Week 2015, a campaign sponsored by FNB and Total SA. 1619 visited Knysna (approximately 350 were brought in by the Featherbed Company via a cruise in the Knysna estuary which is also in the GRNP), 1567 Wilderness and 1197 Tsitsikamma.
The SA National Parks Week campaign was launched in Harkerville (Knysna) on the 14th September 2015. Speaker of the Eden District Municipality, Doris Nayler gave a message of support in favour of such a week during Tourism Month. CEO of Knysna & Partners (former Knysna Tourism), Greg Vogt also mentioned a few initiatives in Knysna and said SANParks are a key partner in driving the tourism business.
South Africa National Parks Week is a campaign to afford all South African citizens free access to National Parks. It is sponsored by FNB and Total SA. More than 4000 people visited the Garden Route National Parks last year (including Wilderness, Knysna and Tsitsikamma). Dates for the campaign week start from the 14th – 19th September 2015.
Although rivers in the Tsitsikamma section of the GRNP are relatively full subsequent to recent rainfall, all day and multi-day hiking trails are now open including the world famous Otter trail hike. Water in the Natures Valley camp has also subsided. According to Area Manager of Knysna (GRNP), Johan de Klerk "roads in the forestry areas in Knysna (Kom-se-Pad) are drivable and trees, debris, water cleared."
Rangers are assessing the extent of the damage caused by the recent rainfall. Goudveld, Gouna and Jubilee Creek (all in the forestry areas) seem to be the hardest hit. In addition to the 100mm rainfall on the 1st of September morning, an additional 40mm was measured. "This has caused damage in Goudveld (an old mining town in the middle of the forest) and a nearby popular picnic spot (Jubilee Creek)" according to Senior Section Ranger, Dominique du Toit.
SANParks managers of the Garden Route National Park have requested citizens to not cross fast flowing rivers in the forestry areas of the Park. "The Piesang River in the Knysna Forest is flooded, so are most rivers" according to Johan de Klerk (Area Manager of the Knysna section).
The very first upgrades in Tsitsikamma as part of the +R 17 million project will start with the entrance gate and administration building. Good news is visitors will not be affected by this at all. "The plan is to vacate the existing office building before December" explains Area Manager for Tsitsikamma, Lesley-Ann Meyer. Roll out of the Project will be the new Office Block closest to reception, then once that’s completed, work on the entrance gate will begin.
The 2015 Garden Route National Park Awards were held at the Simola Hotel on the 20th of August 2015. SANParks introduced Regional Awards in an effort to not only motivate its staff, but to recognize and honour those who commit themselves to a matchless level of excellence in performing their duties. In attendance was the Deputy Mayor of Knysna, Esme Edge, Mrs South Africa contestant, Jackie Wilson Louwe (who was a co-Master of Ceremony with a Senior Marine Ranger for Knysna-Owen Govender), Managing Executive of Parks, Dr. Mvusy Songelwa, Honorary Rangers from Knysna (Chairperson, Bayden Hall) and other distinguished guests.
The AFB Southern Cross Trail Run starts on the 8th - 10th August 2015. The trail run is a 3-day challenge. Day 1 goes through the Outeniqua Mountains, beautiful trails through the indigenous Forest on Day 2 and finishing off on a rugged coastline run on Day 3.
Globally people are choosing to hike for various reasons according to the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA). These reasons include and are not limited to:
Events in the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) boost eco-tourism in Knysna. This contributes to the economy directly and indirectly. There are approximately 34 events held annually in the Knysna section of the GRNP, including cycling races, trail runs, hiking, swimming competitions in the estuary, boating and vessel sporting events.
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.