Closures for trail overhaul

2018-11-27 06:00

Hikers will have to choose an alternative to Lion’s Head, as the trail closes for over a month to accommodate maintenance work.

In a statement, SANParks confirmed the maintenance will take place from Monday 7 January to Friday 15 February and will require the full closure of the trail.

Last year, a trail audit report for the Lion’s Head and Signal Hill footpath network was completed, the statement reads, and resulted in recommendations to improve the longevity of the trail, the safety of hikers in the area and the environmental protection of Lion’s Head and Signal Hill. These have been implemented in phases, with minor work already having been completed. This includes the closure of unauthorised pathways and desire lines, directional signage erected to guide hikers along the official trails, and completion of the assessment for certification of the climbing infrastructure along the trail, the statement says.

Over a year ago, access to Wally’s Cave on Lion’s Head was closed after a hiker died on the trail (“Stick to the path and the park’s rules”, People’s Post, 17 October 2017).

At the time, SANParks said the death was “a clear indication” that hikers were not adhering to the access restrictions in the area.

The hiker, in his late 20s, fell to his death on 14 September last year.

Over the last few years, the number of walkers on Lion’s Head trails has increased significantly, Louise Farrell, chairperson of the Friends of Lion’s Head, previously told People’s Post (“Green flag in the wind”, 14 February 2017).

Based on counts by the organisation, over 500 walkers used the trail during the week. This number tripled on weekends, she said. This increase in walkers impacted the path and environment, she said.

SANParks will now be embarking on one of the “more intensive phases of the project” to address the condition of the trail.SANParks’ Saskia Marlowe says this phase includes ladder, chain and staples maintenance and the reconstruction of certain areas on the footpath, as well as resurfacing at the top of Lion’s Head. “The trail that will undergo maintenance is the Jeep Track from the start of the footpath to the top, including the alternative footpath next to the staples,” she confirms.

The estimated cost for this phase of the project is R300 000.

As the track will be closed to all runners and hikers, SANParks has recommended the use of the Pipe Track, Contour Path, Cecelia Forest, Tokai Forest, Silvermine Nature Reserve or the Sea Point Promenade instead. Signal Hill will remain open to the public as a viewing point.

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