Tokai and Silvermine to remain closed to the public

In the interest of public safety, as well as for the protection of the environmental integrity of the Silvermine and Tokai sections of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), park management decided that these two areas will remain closed to the public until further notice.
TMNP management understands that users are eager to access these areas, however they remain very sensitive and unsafe, and public use of these areas are off limits due to:
  • Smouldering and burning vegetation still needs to be extinguished and flare ups will occur as stumps and roots burn.
  • Standing trees that have been burnt or damaged by the fire are extremely dangerous as they continue to come down in the area.
  • Recently burnt veld (as well as adjacent areas) is hazardous as the fire will have burnt roots underground and foot falls may cause serious injuries.
  • Unstable slopes may result in rock falls
  • Winds and rain may exacerbate the danger with respect to falling trees, branches, rock falls and mudslides
  • Hazardous clear-felling operations of the burnt plantation trees are underway by Cape Pine
  • Disturbance to surviving animals
  • Burnt areas are sensitive as windblown seeds can be damaged and the first emerging plants can be killed by accidental trampling
  • Disturbance to sensitive erodible soils
The closure of the burnt areas will be continually assessed and reopening will only be considered once all safety and environmental issues have been addressed. For some areas this may take between six to twenty four months.

TMNP management and staff would like to assure the public that their focus is to secure the areas for the public’s safety and to as quickly as possible rehabilitate the affected sites for future use.

Please assist us by being patient and please remain out of all burnt areas while mother nature heals herself.


763 Comments

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 12 2015 04:42

Hey guys, I would like to use this thread as a dedicated update service on the matter of access to Tokai and Silvermine areas after they have been ravaged by the fire.

As the opening post, I have some bad news. Taken from Sanparks FB page recently. Please excuse the screen grab, I'm on my phone and can't copy the whole text...

Attached File  Screenshot_2015-03-12-16-09-04.png   355.42KB   111 downloads

Attached File  Screenshot_2015-03-12-16-10-08.png   360.81KB   86 downloads

copperhead, Mar 12 2015 04:43

Ok I have no problem with this. I also love Tokai. However where do I get a refund on my wild card! I was happy to assist with the fire when it was burning but TMNP did not build or upkeep those trails. I would rather get a refund on my wild card and give that money to the guys who are going to rebuild the trails.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 12 2015 04:47

Obviously this is disappointing, and at the moment we aren't allowed in to assess the damage to the trails and prepare a plan of action.

However - we are currently preparing our Project Charter, which encompasses our vision for Tokai as a whole and this should be presented to Parks relatively soon. We will also continue to attempt to gain access so that the damage can be assessed, and future plans ironed out


However - for the moment, we ask that you respect the closure and not try to circumvent the restrictions that they have placed for your safety. It sucks balls, I know - but we need to look at the bigger picture and at the moment that means stepping back to prepare for when we are allowed back in.

We have our work cut out for us, that's for sure...

DJR, Mar 12 2015 04:48

Come ride on the front of Table Mountain. It is only 9 km from Tokai. Not so much single track, but the views are better and the climbs are more than enough for the tough guys.

dirtypot, Mar 12 2015 04:51

I think I'm going to cry  :unsure:

Louzy, Mar 12 2015 04:53

6 to 24 months... any chance of it being 6 months?

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 12 2015 04:56

6 to 24 months... any chance of it being 6 months?


Probably tending towards 24 due to the way the fire has affected the root structures in the areas that were still covered in pine...

As I said though, I'll update as often as I can so that you guys can remain abreast of any changes In the status quo.

I'm also gutted - Tokai is my local. Up until a year ago I'd only ever ridden tokai since I've been in the Cape. And I've just renewed my wildcard.

lechatnoir, Mar 12 2015 05:58

Ok I have no problem with this. I also love Tokai. However where do I get a refund on my wild card! I was happy to assist with the fire when it was burning but TMNP did not build or upkeep those trails. I would rather get a refund on my wild card and give that money to the guys who are going to rebuild the trails.

 

You have more chance of walking on the moon

marko35s, Mar 12 2015 06:13

You have more chance of walking on the moon

So that will be twelve people with refunds then.

Hellwarp, Mar 12 2015 06:16

Obviously this is disappointing, and at the moment we aren't allowed in to assess the damage to the trails and prepare a plan of action.

However - we are currently preparing our Project Charter, which encompasses our vision for Tokai as a whole and this should be presented to Parks relatively soon. We will also continue to attempt to gain access so that the damage can be assessed, and future plans ironed out


However - for the moment, we ask that you respect the closure and not try to circumvent the restrictions that they have placed for your safety. It sucks balls, I know - but we need to look at the bigger picture and at the moment that means stepping back to prepare for when we are allowed back in.

We have our work cut out for us, that's for sure...

 

Does the "Project Charter" include the formation of an "interested and affected party" grouping of various entities to help via community service? The thinking being, the more hands available on a volunteer basis to assist with alien removal, runoff control, rehabilitation, trail construction, admin work etc etc. could go a long way to speeding up recovery and access and solidify relations between mountain users and the powers that be.

We know that labour and finances are stretched for said powers that be to get the job done.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 12 2015 06:34

Does the "Project Charter" include the formation of an "interested and affected party" grouping of various entities to help via community service? The thinking being, the more hands available on a volunteer basis to assist with alien removal, runoff control, rehabilitation, trail construction, admin work etc etc. could go a long way to speeding up recovery and access and solidify relations between mountain users and the powers that be.
We know that labour and finances are stretched for said powers that be to get the job done.


I think it's best for Deon to answer this, as he is the one who has been working on it over the past few weeks.

Suffice to say that it touches on some of them, but specifically to the needs of MTB

As such it may go into things like alien clearing, but not in specifics as it isn't up to the tokai mtb team to control alien growth and so on...

Capricorn, Mar 12 2015 06:35

This one's for Deon:

 

i'm curious: why so long? I'm thinking this whole mother nature sensitivity thing is being overblown: there've been fires before, there will be more fires after this. Yet the trees and the plants survive, without all this fawning over it by humans. If after the first proper day of rain the fires are not extinguished, i'll be very surprised. The few that do remain is extremely low risk items that can be directly addressed. more so, how many of that is within existing trails?

 

So if we substract any emotional projection from the situation, why is it too hard to start clearing trails and fixing what needs fixing to make it ridable again within a month or two? The vast majority of trail users will not go on a major ground disturbing off-piste excursion, and what they do if they did, wont have such an effect on the terrain that mother nature cannot take it in her stride. All that logging would have done way more damage than any cyclist, yet the powers that be are content to allow the smoke and oil of the operation knowing full well it wont affect the flora that much. Yet now, its suddenly hypersensitive to a few trail users on existing trails where there wasn't flora to begin with.

 

Besides, I think it would be fantastic to be part of the trail recovery now, and for ppl to continue riding and walking while the lay of the land is at its starkest, so the appreciation for what we have can grow along with the flora as the situation restores ITSELF.

Eddy Gordo, Mar 12 2015 07:25

I have to agree with capricorn.

While the trails are still there a damage assessment must be done. Trail use is and always has been restricted to the trails. No one ever venture into the plantations. This is the areas which were seriously affected. 

 

It would be nice to be able to ride a trail and see the development of plants over time. Something needs to be proposed whereby some area can still be used. From the pics I saw the trails still look intact apart from where there were wooden features.

(Deon), Mar 12 2015 08:18

Let's be honest here, what damage would the trails have really sustained? Apart from the roots in the trail being burnt, I am hinging my bets on minimal direct damage. 

 

What I do however understand from the info is that Table Mountain National Park are not looking at the trails in isolation of the rest of the reserve. It appears to be a holistic approach where an ecosystem is affected and needs recovery. 

 

Eddy.. the area is sensitive and a lot of attention will be focussed on the recovery, it seems Table Mountain National Park and many other stakeholders are not willing to risk opening the area to the public, not just cyclists; horses, walkers etc..

 

Saying no-one ever ventured off the trails is quite a claim..

 

Cap, winter approaches.. I sincerely doubt anything will change before it is over. 

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 12 2015 08:30

Eddard-Ed-Stark-Winter-is-Coming-1.jpeg

Eddy Gordo, Mar 12 2015 08:31

Lol Yes Deon it is quite a claim, Should have said assuming no one did as the trees etc and lack of paths. I do understand from a safety aspect, but at the same there are parts were trees were already removed.

 

Nature is tough and pretty soon things are gonna be starting to turn green and as soon as some rain comes its gonna help alot, just hopefully not too much rain as we dont need any xtreme mudslides

GLuvsMtb, Mar 12 2015 08:41

Let's be honest here, what damage would the trails have really sustained? Apart from the roots in the trail being burnt, I am hinging my bets on minimal direct damage. 

 

What I do however understand from the info is that Table Mountain National Park are not looking at the trails in isolation of the rest of the reserve. It appears to be a holistic approach where an ecosystem is affected and needs recovery. 

 

Eddy.. the area is sensitive and a lot of attention will be focussed on the recovery, it seems Table Mountain National Park and many other stakeholders are not willing to risk opening the area to the public, not just cyclists; horses, walkers etc..

 

Saying no-one ever ventured off the trails is quite a claim..

 

Cap, winter approaches.. I sincerely doubt anything will change before it is over. 

Well said Deon. We often over-simplify matters that we do not fully comprehend. The best thing we can do is give the powers-that-be our full support. 

(Deon), Mar 12 2015 08:50

Lol Yes Deon it is quite a claim, Should have said assuming no one did as the trees etc and lack of paths. I do understand from a safety aspect, but at the same there are parts were trees were already removed.

 

Nature is tough and pretty soon things are gonna be starting to turn green and as soon as some rain comes its gonna help alot, just hopefully not too much rain as we dont need any xtreme mudslides

Nature is tough and oddly it's through human "do gooders" that it actually suffers. Be sure that the restoration will be watched from a distance, there is a new breed of conservationist, one that can take on conventional ideas and win - but I digress.

 

Tokai, with 120 years of logging activities in up to 60 year cycles, this area holds seedbanks of the last "pure" fynbos in the reserve. Granite and Sandveld fynbos remains in 3% of the world - i.e. here.

 

If you ever wanted to understand the importance of Tokai and why the Pines are ultimately going, this previous paragraph sums it up to the T.

Eddy Gordo, Mar 12 2015 09:04

Yeah, I fully understand that from a bio diversity aspect, Tokai holds the key to many species.

(Deon), Mar 12 2015 09:09

Well said Deon. We often over-simplify matters that we do not fully comprehend. The best thing we can do is give the powers-that-be our full support. 

Correct. Like Myles has said, even with the closure TokaiMTB can continue planning the future trails. Table Mountain National Park supports us supporting them - a two way street.

 

But wait, what do riders do in this time? TokaiMTB remains sympathetic to the loss of trails for the riders. It is a big problem to have closures last that long.. so without raising hopes, and assuming we can get the message across that adherence to the terms of access can be obeyed, we will continue lobbying for a earlier admission. Sadly what does not count in our favour is the historic flaunting of these terms despite CONTINUAL requests - you know, the few that spoil it for the masses - there will be a lot of convincing needed. 

Capricorn, Mar 12 2015 09:16

i just hope full support doesn't include swallowing the cool-aid as well. I still think this sensitive mother nature angle is just an excuse to take an extremely over cautious approach. Other than a say-so, is there any proof that trail maintenance will actually have any impact on the mountain's recovery?

MarcW, Mar 12 2015 09:19

So that will be twelve people with refunds then.

 

Are you saying that people have received refunds ?

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 12 2015 09:23

i just hope full support doesn't include swallowing the cool-aid as well. I still think this sensitive mother nature angle is just an excuse to take an extremely over cautious approach. Other than a say-so, is there any proof that trail maintenance will actually have any impact on the mountain's recovery?


My take - next to none. We will have to map routes carefully so that foot traffic and wheelbarrow tracks take the proper routes but in certain cases it may actually help, given the water management that we put into place on the trails we build.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 12 2015 09:25

Are you saying that people have received refunds ?


Lol. No. That's how many people have walked on the moon. So by deduction, if you have as much chance of walking on the moon as getting a refund, there are 12 people who already have one.

popcorn_skollie, Mar 12 2015 10:11

So once a certain degree of safety has been established im assuming the first step would be to gauge the ecological impact of the fire. Perhaps some sort of human intervention is required from environmentalists. Lets assume that is the case. Who's next, Cape Pine? Harvesting, replanting. I guess what i'm asking is, if TMNP say Tokai is closed to the general public. This includes without exceptions The Tokai Trail Builders?