This past month the rangers have observed an increasing number of Datura stramonium or Common Thorn Apple, growing in the Clarens Nature Reserve and have taken measures to remove the poisonous weed wherever encountered. This is a Category 1b Alien & Invasive Plant (A&IP) as classified according to NEMBA (act 10 of 2004), requiring mandatory removal – see the article on this invasive published in the Clarens News for a detailed description of the adverse effects it has on humans. For more information about invasive plants and their management in and around Clarens, please contact the CVC at the details provided below.
The CVC and a local volunteer have been working towards the establishment of a photography competition which aims to raise awareness of the intrinsic beauty and value of the natural environment. Great prizes have been locally sponsored and we have some ultra-keen judges aboard to help decide the winning photographs. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for more info relating to this exciting new competition launching mid-April. The rangers also lead guests on a guided tour of the Spruit & Mallen Wall. By the end of the hike the guests reported that they were thoroughly impressed with the level of knowledge and heart put into the tour by the rangers – why shucks!
Trail maintenance & enhancements
The rangers and Clarens Working on Fire team have been hard at work preparing the Caracal Contour cycle trail and Titanic trail for the Easter holidays. Cattle had done much damage to the trails; however with the persistence of the CVC and WOF, these have been restored to their full glory. Preparations for the Ashburton MTB Cycle Series (15th – 17th April) are underway and a temporary path has been opened for the event from the top of the CNR, linking up with the sky-high Sky Contour trail and eventually, through to the majestic Caracal Contour.
Clarens experienced its first ever Lush Festival, based at Linwood farm over Easter weekend. The music fest attracted some 4 thousand campers; festival goers; runners and avid cyclists. A portion of the Lush Fest cycle race entered the CNR and several of the cyclists were able to enjoy the stunning scenery afforded from high-above in the reserve (well as much as we imagine they possibly could towards the end of a race) – all considered, it was a big success for everyone involved. The next big cycle event in Clarens is the Ashburton MTB Cycle Series wherein a total of 2500 cyclists will be taking part – 2000 of which are expected to cycle through the scenic CNR. This is almost double the 2015 figures and includes international riders and locals alike. The event is an amazing opportunity to showcase both the beauty and value of the CNR, and the race will be captured by a news-crew and televised on Supersport.
Our rangers on patrol
Wood collecting is on the rise as it always is on the approach to winter. Several concerned residents have spotted the wood collectors harvesting large volumes of wood along the length of the Spruit and the area of the reserve below Titanic Rock. The rangers have observed the collectors harvesting live wood in addition to dead Oldwood trees from within the CNR. Several more of our trail markers have disappeared and yet others have been found discarded some distance away from their original positions, elsewhere gates in the reserve have been bound shut with barbed wire and the prickly wire has been carefully removed by the rangers on numerous occasions. These prohibited activities may result in anyone caught engaging in them facing serious criminal charges. The CVC has a notion of the culprits’ identities in each case and are in the process of addressing the issue with the municipality and SAPS. Please be vigilant and notify the rangers of any suspect behaviour in the reserve and along the Spruit streams.
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 Reserve and Clarens as a whole. Anyone willing to make a donation of any form and amount can contact us via 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