Meeting of CapeNature, Mountain Club of South African and Private Landowners
A meeting was held on Saturday 18th January 2014 Kliphuis Campsite in Rocklands between CapeNature, Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) and the Private Landowners.
All parties discussed the Permit Fee Structure, Education of Climbers in Rocklands and the Rehabilitation Requirements of Roadside, which has been significantly eroded by both climbers and natural processes.
Since the Permit Fee is one of the most hotly debated issues at the moment in Rocklands, it did take prevalence in the meeting. All parties agreed that the best system would be one permit for all of Rocklands. CapeNature will need to discuss the recommended pricing that came out of the meeting with their executive before confirming a pricing structure (watch this space).
It was also agreed that an Online Permit System is now in vital need to run in conjunction with the manual cash Permit System currently running through the Kliphuis Campsite and de Pakhuys Campsite offices. CapeNature indicated an interest in owning and administering the Online Permit System, however it is unlikely this system will be up and running for the 2014 season. A similar pilot system may be in place to run as a trial before committing to a permanent Online System.
In terms of Wild Card holders, the Private Landowners are interested in registering with Wild Card, allowing discounts for all Wild Card owners across all lands in Rocklands. This process will take some time to implement and we are hoping to at least have this running for the 2014 season.
The behaviour of the majority of international climbers in Rocklands is concern to all landowners and the Mountain Club of South Africa. It is the sole reason that Tea Garden has been closed to climbers. All parties agreed that education is required to prevent the destruction of Rocklands’ properties by climbers through incorrect toilet behaviour in nature, trampling of vegetation, creating informal paths by not using existing pathways and littering.
The MCSA will be working closely with CapeNature and the Private Landowners in educating climbers through, climbing websites, and through a Conservation Day in late May/early June 2014 and a mid-season clean up around Rock Stock.
Currently, Tea Garden is still closed while the South African National Heritage Council is still working with the private landowner regarding the Rock Paintings and graffiti on Black Shadow. The MCSA is still in negotiations with the private landowner to see whether Tea Garden can be re-opened for at least part of the 2014 season. If this does happen, Black Shadow boulder will still be off limits to climbing due to the sensitivity of the Rock Paintings on it.
The significant erosion at Roadside was also discussed at length. CapeNature and the MCSA will be co-ordinating with one another and conservation experts to organise demarcation of Roadside boulders to alleviate the erosion around it.
The climbing community is encouraged to get involved in the rehabilitation of Roadside this season as well as to support the aforementioned Conservation and Clean Up Days. It is now time for climbers to give back to the land they have enjoyed for so many years and in so doing, maintain its beauty and nature for future generations.
For any questions or concerns, please email Delaney@rock-chicks.co.za.
MCSA CT-Section Rock Climbing Sub-Committee