South Africa: Garden Route National Park

Garden Route National Park (GRNP) is now only months away, says South African National Parks (SANParks).

According to ABC-of-Hiking.com, there are only three other places in the world where residents live inside the borders of a nationally-recognized park: Italy, Canada, and the USA. This makes the new Garden Route National Park the first of its kind on the African continent.

SANParks says the new GRNP will be “unique in the sense that the proximity of the residential areas on its periphery will definitely have an impact on the character of the park.” Furthermore, SANParks charges the local authorities and residents of the Garden Route to “realise that they have a contribution to make to ensure that the integrity of the park stays intact, both from an environmental as well as social perspective.”

Mvusy Songelwa, Regional Manager of SANParks Garden Route, describes the uniqueness of the park:

The team in the Garden Route will be part of the coining of a unique conservation model in South Africa and Africa. The geographical diversity of these various areas makes for an exceptional conservation model. There will be no other National Park in South Africa that will include the unique combination of marine, coastal, lakes, indigenous forests and mountain catchment areas. The National Park will also not have any additional entrance gates and fences erected to mark its boundaries other than those already in place at the various camps. Our distinctive economic drive will be “conservation without boundaries” in the landscape, unlike in other parks with fenced boundaries.

SANParks Garden Route will host public information sessions starting in January 2009.

Once a 60-day period has expired and pending public comments to the Minster, a proclamation of the GRNP will follow. Songelwa hopes to see GRNP become a reality by Easter 2009.

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