During April, the rangers removed several dustbin bag loads of seed-pods of Datura stramonium – Common Thorn Apple – from the Clarens Nature Reserve. All parts of this plant are poisonous if consumed; propagate readily and are easily dispersed by livestock throughout the CNR. As such the seed containing pods were carefully cut and handled to reduce spillage of seed onto the soil. This plant has encroached rapidly in the CNR and if not swiftly dealt with, could pose a threat to biodiversity in the area. This is a Category 1b A&IP, requiring mandatory removal from all properties and natural areas – it may not be grown, sold, traded or transported for any commercial or domestic use. For more information about invasive plants and their management in and around Clarens, please contact the CVC at the details provided below.
The CVC continuously improves on its’ outreach to the public regarding environmental issues – whether it be through workshops; presentations at local interest clubs; events and activities at schools; enviro-articles; guided trail tours, and more. Our stall at the Clarens Country Market (Saturdays) at the Bibliophile is a great opportunity for the residents of Clarens, and visitors alike to get to know the rangers and to enquire about the work that the CVC is engaged in with the community of Clarens.
Trail maintenance & enhancements
The Caracal Contour Cycle Trail received some much needed TLC after damage caused by cattle on the trail earlier in the month. After some time and a good deal of energy from the rangers & Clarens Working on Fire team, the trail was looking better than new as several improvements were made, particularly in some of the steeper and inherently narrower sections of the trail. Work was also done on the Sky Contour & Kloof Mountain trails in preperation for the Ashburton MTB Cycle Series.
The Ashburton MTB Cycle Series made its’ annual round in Clarens over the weekend and brought many cyclists to Clarens. For the first time, the cycle race wound its way through the CNR on both days of the race. An estimated 600 and 900 cyclists participated in the race which brought them into the reserve on the Saturday & Sunday respectively. There were thankfully relatively few injuries, and in general the rangers received many compliments about the conditions of the trails as the cyclists passed through the reserve.
Our rangers on patrol
Wood collectors have been observed with greater frequency and the rangers are having to be increasingly vigilant that only dead invasive wood is collected from within the reserve. Please note that the harvesting of live wood of any kind from within the CNR is prohibited, and should such an activity be observed, please contact the rangers immediately. The snakes are out and about, likely as they seek appropriate shelter in which to hibernate throughout the winter – so please don’t shortcut through long-grass, wear boots and keep your eyes peeled. Winter is definitely approaching, and the concomitant array of fall colours is truly spectacular this time of year. Anywhere that you look in Clarens, the signs are evident as more and more leaves fall on our trails. It is now the perfect time to pick up your camera and take a few happy snaps – and remember you could use these in our up-and-coming photography competition – see our Facebook page and the CVC website for details!
The CVC has received a number of small cash donations at our stall at the Clarens Country Market (Bibliophile) over the past month. As always, your contributions go a long way in the management of the CNR and improvement and maintenance of infrastructure. Donations of any amount can find our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ClarensVillageConservancy or through our link in the Clarens News. The CVC Banking details – Acc. name: Clarens Village Conservancy. Acc. number: 330544489. Standard Bank, Bethlehem. Branch code: 055033.
Article and title picture by D. Coulson Cell: 076 833 8910 or 060 307 1489
In text photo credits: D. Coulson and the CVC Rangers