By Craig McKune
SA National Parks is encouraging a nationwide free-for-all at their parks this week.
This is a major part of National Parks Week, which was launched on Monday in the West Coast National Park.
The concept was first launched in 2006 with “the realisation that the majority of the country’s citizens were not accessing parks”, stated a SANParks press release.
|‘This year we are focusing on involving young people and communities’|
“The survival of the SA national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa,” said SANParks CEO David Mabunda.
This year we are focusing on involving young people and communities, to cultivate knowledge of the importance of conservation and an appreciation for the country’s natural heritage,” he said.
Until Friday, access to most parks is free if you are carrying an official South African identity document. Children under the age of 16 will be allowed entry without identification.
The launch at the West Coast Park celebrated in particular the role of women in conservation, said SANParks communications officer Wanda Mkutshulwa.
“Today we are launching the Duinepos chalets, which are being run by three very dynamic women,” she said.
|‘It has proven to be a very successful community project’|
“It has proven to be a very successful community project, with the chalets running at full capacity over weekends.”
Duinepos has been running for nearly two years since the completion of the first chalets, but the full complement of 11 was recently completed, said Mkutshulwa.
Activities include a rangers’ anti-poaching roadshow at the Camdeboo Park. Tsitsikamma is hosting an evening fireside debate on moral responsibility with local youth.
Knysna National Park is holding a fishing expedition for children. And Kruger National Park will hold a “Walk in the Wild” project.