TokaiMTB Update: Possible earlier access?

TokaiMTB, together with PPA and Amarider met with Table Mountain National Park management in Tokai for a further in-depth discussion regarding the ongoing logging operations and reopening timelines for recreational activities in the Tokai precinct and surrounds.

The discussion pointed to areas that have been clear felled or unaffected by the threat of falling trees or logging operations. The meeting was extremely positive as more detail around Cape Pine’s felling schedule was presented, placing the aim of a possible earlier reopening date closer within reach. The goal of an earlier opening is intended for cyclists, walkers and horse riders to be allowed use of sections of the park jeep-track that does not impede on any projects, nor place the visitor in undue danger as a result of the fire that brought on the closures in March.

 


Tokai Trail Update 3.jpg

Tokai Trail Update 1.jpg

Trails lost. Following the devastating March 2015 fires that resulted in almost 6000ha of burnt fynbos and commercial plantations, and the destruction of several private properties, the Tokai precinct and plantation were deemed disaster zones and duly closed for up to two years' post-fire intervention.

 

This idea was originally presented to Table Mountain National Park management by TokaiMTB in September with the express purpose of finding a safe alternative route away from the busy Ou Kaapse Weg road up to Silvermine West – due for reopening in December. The latest discussion included new information showing the unexpected progress of the logging operations in Tokai providing an update to the schedule on which the timelines are based. The corridor through Tokai, in addition to bypassing Ou Kaapse Weg, could also provide some relief to Silvermine’s trails where the area can expect to see large numbers of users flocking back into the newly reopened trail.

 

It should be noted that all parties involved, including SANParks Table Mountain National Park, are extremely keen to facilitate public use of the park at the earliest reasonable opportunity. At present, Cape Pine and the contractors clearing the trees are advising SANParks that the public should not be allowed entry until all clearing is completed. In light of this instruction, all parties remain committed to working on a viable plan that could allow a possible early entry while appeasing the contractor and risk advisor’s concerns.

 

(While we are on the topic, TokaiMTB appeals to all users of Silvermine West to show consideration towards others as space may become congested at times while the weather continues to improve and numbers grow, seeking out their favourite recreational pastime. Walkers, sometimes with children and dogs, and cyclists, all need to please take care and apply extra caution to avoid any unwelcome incidents. This will be a favourite destination for many users especially on good weather weekends.)

 

Many ideas around early Tokai access were presented and discussed in detail, while the main point of consideration remained the safety of the users and the need for compliance with regard to the terms of reopening should the application be successful.

 

Several commercial logging teams comprising both Cape Pine and private contractors, who have bought compartments of pine from Cape Pine, are working simultaneously in different parts of Tokai. Logging operations have redirected some focus back to the gum trees in the lower reaches of the reserve namely; level 1 “My Roots” through to the upper Arboretum bordering level 2. All access leading higher into the reserve is closed as these areas run alongside the jeep track accessing the upper slopes.

 

Tokai Trail Update 2.jpg
Some of Africa's champion trees that once stood in the Tokai plantation. Gum trees measuring over 75m in height now has contractors scratching their heads on the safest method to remove them, with summer south-easter winds being of no help at all.

 

The areas where gum felling operations are underway are scheduled to be completed by July 2016. It is due to the scale of the gum felling operations, where trees measuring up to 75 meters in height, that risk is greatly increased as the trees are required to fall in close proximity to the jeep track and accessed by specialist heavy machinery brought in to cope with the weight of these trees. As an indication of scale, 1 gum tree fills a double trailer truck that could normally carry between 20 - 30 pines per load.

 

The remaining pine compartments are expected to be removed by March 2016. These pines are found on a combination of level 1, 4, 5 and on the upper Silvermine amphitheater slopes. The Silvermine trees above level 5 pose yet another challenge as specialist high-angle crews qualified to traverse steep cliff faces, are required to carry out this part of clearing. It is expected that due to the vertical slope, the felled trees will fall some distance to the road below or even beyond. The risk factor around this operation was stressed several times in the meeting and again served as a valid reason why this part of the area could not be reopened before March 2016.

 

TokaiMTB understands the implications caused by the fire to local industry and recreational users. We continue to remain committed to the public while working with stakeholders in securing a world-class vision for Tokai and surrounds.

 






81 Comments

Comments

Myles Mayhew, Nov 30 2015 10:07

Brilliant news, finally being able to share it.

gwhite, Nov 30 2015 10:16

Yes, some proper communication to all users of Tokai.

(Deon), Nov 30 2015 10:52

Thanks gwhite. Silence is often a precursor to good news.

 

TokaiMTB is going nowhere for the foreseeable future, so expect more news in time.

 

Keep in mind it is not always possible to get all the news out as a lot of the plans change daily. Some may not see the importance of releasing solid info, we however do.

 

There is still a process running trying to maintain how or what trails are rebuilt. This will be in the next newsletter, hopefully soon. ;)

raptor-22, Nov 30 2015 11:17

Thanks for this.

What date will Silvermine West be reopening?

Capricorn, Dec 01 2015 08:29

Interesting how this comes after the public call to protest. Surely a coincidence. ;)

Red Zone, Dec 01 2015 08:35

While I appreciate the update, I don't really see any news, good or otherwise. In summary there was a meeting and Tokai remains closed

raptor-22, Dec 01 2015 08:46

Yes but access could be granted in stages starting in July August 2016

Donovan Le Cok, Dec 01 2015 09:01

Thanks for this.

What date will Silvermine West be reopening?

 

Would also like to know. Letter states December, so an exact date would be great.

 

Cant wait to start riding in Silvermine again.

IKMagine, Dec 01 2015 09:06

Hmmm... months of silence and then suddenly this newsletter a couple of days before a planned community march to get some answers? 
 
I for one do not and have never shared TokaiMTB's approach of 'No new is good news'. What a load of bollocks.
 
The above newsletter tells me nothing that I don't already know. Simply put, Tokai is closed and nobody can or wants to say when it will re-open. Why? Well I think because of all the other questions that will have no answers. Like, will trails already have been created, what will fees be? What is the plan we are being told and what will actually happen? etc. 
 
Tokai will have been closed for almost 2 years when it (possibly) re-opens... with no work done to it except tons and tons of machinery / trees having being dragged across its surface and judging by previous trail building, this would mean another waiting period of probably a minimum of 2 years before any trails are completed. Especially if things pick up where they left off before the fires.
Just as an example, Helderberg trails are officially opening on the 12th of Dec. You know how long Jan and his team have been building there to get it to this point? Years. And they have been building daily and have now acquired machinery to further improve on the building and speeding things up.
 
The trail network that has developed across the peninsula and surrounds since the closure of Tokai has been amazing. Lots of effort is/has been made by most of the stakeholders to give the trail users what they want. But most importantly, there is a sense of community with regular articles, updates, new trails, questions floating about on how to improve this or that etc. 
 
Perhaps TokaiMTB should maybe place a little more importance on the issue of transparency & public involvement and keeping the communication channels going. Because at this rate, come opening day, you may find a much shorter queue than you anticipated.

Lucky Luke., Dec 01 2015 12:21

Is Silvermine West already open / opening this month? It's not clear from this extremely vague statement. 

Donovan Le Cok, Dec 01 2015 12:55

Is Silvermine West already open / opening this month? It's not clear from this extremely vague statement. 

 

Exactly as per my question above. The letter says December so being December can we assume it is open?

leaboy, Dec 01 2015 12:59

Would also like to know. Letter states December, so an exact date would be great.

Cant wait to start riding in Silvermine again.


Ive heard 12Dec is when wa pad and noordhoek peaks will be opened.

raptor-22, Dec 01 2015 01:01

Would also like to know. Letter states December, so an exact date would be great.

 

Cant wait to start riding in Silvermine again.

 

 

 

exactly,.....December has 31 days

waveduke, Dec 01 2015 01:03

Exactly as per my question above. The letter says December so being December can we assume it is open?

 

The day it opens there will be more traffic around the dam than on Ou Kaapse Weg during rush hour  :ph34r:

Mntboy, Dec 01 2015 01:28

Yes but access could be granted in stages starting in July August 2016

Which also hopefully means that some rebuilding can occur in the month before. Just glad that there's a significant chance of it being an 7-8 month wait instead of a year.

Myles Mayhew, Dec 01 2015 01:30

Which also hopefully means that some rebuilding can occur in the month before. Just glad that there's a significant chance of it being an 7-8 month wait instead of a year.

I'm frothing to get on Silvermine. 10km from home? A loop like that? Sjoe

raptor-22, Dec 01 2015 01:34

Whats the project schedule here? Does TMNP have a plan to co-ordinate the trail network reconstruction as the logging activities cease?

marking out trails and preparing the ground, laying foundation, sinking poles to support boardwalk, sourcing clay, delivery etc all takes a lot of time.

If there's no plan then likely "open" just means you ride the fireroad and admire the "magnificent desolation" from afar.....

 

 

till 2017-18

Mntboy, Dec 01 2015 01:35

I'm frothing to get on Silvermine. 10km from home? A loop like that? Sjoe

Me too! And it'll help take the stress off other venues as well. I just hope Black hill won't suffer when we have both Silvermine and Tokai back. It'll definitely be nice to have such a rad variety in the south peninsula.

JAJA, Dec 17 2015 10:12

Any update on Silvermine West opening?  Surely by now the opening date has been confirmed.

Donovan Le Cok, Dec 17 2015 11:01

Any update on Silvermine West opening?  Surely by now the opening date has been confirmed.

 

Would also love to know.

 

I checked the gate this morning, still firmly locked, with the barbed wire fence around the side.

(Deon), Dec 17 2015 04:10

Shared to TokaiMTB Facebook and twitter, plus a few retweets. 

 

UPDATE ON SILVERMINE WEST – TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Since the fire in March 2015 most of the central section (Silvermine & Tokai) was closed off to visitors for all activities in order for the section rangers team to get to work on post fire rehabilitation projects.

 

This included footpath work, rebuilding of fire damaged structures, closure of illegal paths, law enforcement and monitoring of the affected areas. SANParks have been working tirelessly to get the areas affected by the March 2015 fires opened again for our visitors to enjoy as they always have done.

 

On the 14 September, TMNP successfully reopened Silvermine East, while work at Silvermine West continued. The damage in this section included the re-building of all the boardwalks and walkways around the Silvermine Dam, down the ever popular River Walk as well as the viewing deck at Blackburn Ravine.

 

Although teams are hard at work, they still manage to record various interesting sightings of fauna and flora in the area. With many tasks still to be done, the Park plans to have Silvermine West reopened by the end of December 2015.

 

SANParks wishes to thank you for your ongoing support and will continue to provide updates to stakeholders and to the general public on progress as new information becomes available.

 

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raptor-22, Dec 17 2015 05:02

so don't expect open gates till Tweede Nuwe Jar

Capricorn, Dec 17 2015 06:06

so don't expect open gates till Tweede Nuwe Jar

which century is that Jar in?

Myles Mayhew, Dec 21 2015 05:25

Confirmed, Silvermine open as of tomorrow.

Bloukrans, Dec 21 2015 05:47

Confirmed, Silvermine open as of tomorrow.

Thanks Myles.

 

Do you have more info? I cannot find further details on the web. Which sections are open, etc