The purpose of revising the EMP was to update the current programme, confirm existing cycling routes and propose additional routes. The new EMP also emphasizes safety - more eyes and ears on the trails. The EMP will also include an updated Code of Conduct which comprises cycling etiquette and compliance to ensure safe, friendly and environmentally responsible cycling in TMNP. Additional routes identified in the EMP for cycling will be opened to the public from 1 December 2016 on a "trail sharing" basis with other recreational users. In addition, some of the additional trails will open later as they first require repairs to be made ready for biking.
TMNP and the Forum are pleased to announce that the final revised EMP will be officially signed off and a full list of the additional mountain biking routes will be released on Friday, 11 November. The revised EMP will be available to the public on the SANParks and biking websites on 01 December 2016. The additional “trail sharing” routes will also be officially opened to the public on 01 December 2016 and introduce an exciting new aspect to recreational activities in the Park.
SANParks and its partners have taken a proactive approach in opening more trails since the closure of Upper Tokai and would also like to thank the public for their input into the EMP revision process. TMNP would also like to remind user groups to adhere to the newly established code of conduct to ensure that the environment and other recreational users are taken into account. Some guidelines include staying on dedicated routes, no littering and respecting wildlife. As before, the TMNP level 3 Activity Permit will be required to ride all biking trails in the Park. The permits are available at the SANParks Wildcard Offices in Tokai or at any Cape Town Tourism info centre.
The additional biking trails have been identified at a number of different locations and include routes around the iconic Signal Hill and Lions Head, tracks above Camps Bay and the Newlands via Kirstenbosch and Cecilia Plantation transit route to Constantia Nek. Additional trails will also be available at Deer Park below Tafelberg Road, Groote Schuur Estate (ideal for family and recreational riders) and a Tokai to Silvermine linkage route.
Park Manager, Lesley-Ann Meyer, said the review was long overdue and that the Park has been working with the widely representative TMMTB Forum to produce a robust and practical EMP to guide and manage both mountain biking and road cycling in the Park into the future. Ms. Meyer is encouraged by the identification of additional cycling routes to complement the existing network and she thanked the Forum and Park staff for the hard work in getting the new routes into the draft EMP for public comment.
Meurant Botha, chairperson of the TMMTB Forum, stated that the Forum has made strong inputs to update and improve the EMP and to introduce new cycling routes which are proposed to extend the current network of cycling routes in the Park and improve linkages in the network.
“The concept of an off road cycle track from Constantia Nek to Kloofnek is such a great idea and has been spoken about for many years. Linking Cecilia Forest with Newlands Forest through Kirstenbosch was critical so we trust that the route, which is well above the Garden and follows an existing service road, will be willing shared by all users”, said Philip Le Roux of SANBI.
The revised EMP becomes effective from 1 December 2016 when most of the additional routes will be sign posted and opened to public use.