Honorary Rangers make clean sweep

2020-01-21 06:00
SanParks Honorary Rangers Robina Forfar, Jenny Barber and George Smith remove graffiti off boardwalks in Newlands Forest.

SanParks Honorary Rangers Robina Forfar, Jenny Barber and George Smith remove graffiti off boardwalks in Newlands Forest.

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SanParks Honorary Rangers from the Table Mountain region removed graffiti from the wooden boardwalks and surrounding rock surfaces along the Newlands Forest contour path on Wednesday 8 January.

A special paint-removal product and a whole lot of elbow grease went into restoring the path.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely it will stay that way, says Michael McSweeney, a longstanding member of the Honorary Rangers. He says it usually takes about a month before a cleaned-up area is tagged again.

“Luckily, we have great support from dog walkers and hikers who tell us when they see new graffiti in the Newland Forest area. We also find a lot of it on the Table Mountain sections,” he says.

McSweeney says the mountain is a shared natural resource and if we want to grow tourism, its natural beauty needs to be safeguarded and maintained.

“As a tourist, you might expect to find graffiti in the centre of town but not when you go into nature,” says McSweeney.

McSweeney became a member of the Honorary Rangers about eight years ago when he witnessed rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park. “I decided then and there to do something to help,” he says.

Removing graffiti from rock surfaces and wooden boardwalks within Table Mountain National Park is but one of the many volunteer duties carried out by the Honorary Rangers. Another is raising funds for SanParks projects, anti-poaching activities, the K9 unit and training.

The Honorary Rangers are already preparing for their annual fundraiser in November.

They also work to make hiking safe, do vehicle patrols; assist with alien vegetation clearing and beach clean-ups; full-moon patrols on Lions Head; and assisting with gate duties at various events and during the busy season.

“We are there to assist SanParks where-ever they need assistance,” he says.

According to the SanParks website, there are more than 1 900 Honorary Rangers – all volunteers – based in 31 regions around the country and working in 21 national parks.

“We are always looking for new volunteers,” says McSweeney.

He directs those who are interested in joining the organisation of volunteers to the SanParks volunteers website.V Learn more at www.sanparksvolunteers.org.

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