Following major fires in 2015 which burnt down nearly 90% of rideable trails, the Tokai plantation was closed until further notice. “This effectively took away well over half of the available mountain bike trails in the Table Mountain National Park,” said PPA CEO Robert Vogel.
SanParks has indicated that Tokai will be reopened before the end of the year. “Since the vast majority of trails were destroyed in the fire, PPA has offered the funding in an effort to speed up the process,” Vogel said.
The PPA funding will be used to fund teams from Reto Mani, who amongst others built several trails in the Blackhill area, and Shaun Havenga, who is well-known for his excellent trails in the Table Mountain National Park and Meerendal. The PPA funding will also be used for 100 tons of material and plant hire.
The R175 000 funded by PPA will repair and rebuild most of the existing trail network, but not all of the previous trails may be accessible once Tokai reopens.
“We are thrilled to have been able to secure the services of these experienced teams to start the rebuilding of the Tokai trails,” Vogel said. The project, which started last week, is being overseen by the Tokai MTB group. Work is expected to be completed by end-September.
“We are excited about the opportunity to assist cyclists to regain one of their favourite riding areas,” Vogel said. “This is just the start of the process. After the initial shock period after the fires, there was lots of uncertainty around when Tokai would reopen. It is still unclear exactly when cyclists will be able to take to the trails again and we are constantly engaging with SanParks for more information in this regard. In the meantime, the trails are being rebuilt so that they are ready when we get the go-ahead,” Vogel continued.
One positive spin-off from the Tokai fires was the opening of sections of the Constantia green belts to cycling.
“The shared trails have so far proved to be a success, and we are thrilled to see how many families with young kids are now enjoying these non-technical trails,” Vogel said.
“PPA would like to see a change in the permit fee structure, in order for the entire Table Mountain trail network to become self-sustainable and for permit fees to be reinvested into maintenance and expansion of all the trails,” Vogel concluded.