A period of large-scale harvesting started in mid-October in Karkloof, which has resulted in a number of trails on the Karkloof Falls side of the Karkloof Road being rerouted. This is a temporary situation, and the original trails will be reopened after the harvesting and timber-hauling activity is complete. The Karkloof Mountain Bike Club will be working as efficiently as possible to repair and reopen trails in February/March 2016.
Kathryn Fourie, of the Sappi Mountain Bike Project explained, “Harvesting of trees is a standard forestry activity that affects day-to-day mountain biking in the Karkloof Valley, Howick and Lions River areas. We are exceptionally fortunate to work with Sappi foresters and contractors who take into consideration the needs of mountain bikers, and they work with the trail custodians (MTB Clubs) to ensure the safety of cyclists and to investigate alternative route options”.
Commenting on the public’s reaction to the closures Fourie said “Some riders express frustration with closures but on the whole people understand. The harversting, loading and hauling of timber is non-stop and huge timber trucks drive along large sections of jeep track that often form part of the beginner or intermediate trails. Sappi and the trail custodians take no chances with the safety of the public, and closing off the affected areas entirely was the most responsible decision in this situation”.
Fourie added that there are a multitude of options available to riders coming into the holiday season, with over 80km of marked trail around the Karkloof Country Club itself. “The 30km Loop, which includes fantastic trails like Fawlty Towers, Bruisers Burn, the Carnival, Free Fall, Dragons Back and Boogaloos has been unaffected by the closure. The newly rerouted trails include the Supa20, which incorporates the legendary Sid Vicious descent. A moderate 20km and 10km loop have also been plotted, which are great for families and beginner riders. We’ve had great feedback on the new Supa20 in particular”. So despite the rerouting of certain trails there are still plenty of options available to riders wishing to experience some of the best trails in South Africa. In fact the new sections have refreshed some of the routes.
About the Sappi Mountain Bike Project
The Sappi Mountain Bike Project was established in 2011 as a formal approach to managing mountain biking on Sappi’s properties in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Sappi works with mountain biking stakeholders to try and ensure safe and sustainable mountain biking on their land.