Cape Town - Two hiking trails in the Knysna forest, also part of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), have been awarded Green Flag status.
The GRNP is an open access Park spanning over 155 000 hectares from Wilderness to Tsitsikamma in the Western Cape and its Perdekop Nature Walk as well as its Diepwalle's Olifants Hiking Trail have now both been accredited by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA) as of 14 May.
This global benchmark for hiking trails, looks at criteria such as its conservation status, health and safety measures, cleanliness and maintenance, sustainability and trail management.
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"This is great for the Park and also for Knysna. The well-being of all societies depends on healthy ecosystems. Protected areas can conserve healthy ecosystems and improve our health and well-being," said Area Manager for Knysna, Johan de Klerk.
In addition to the awarding of the green flag status to two of its trails, one of the GRNP's rangers has been chosen to head up the Regional division of HOSA, a newly established body including most landowners with hikes in the area such as SANParks, Cape Pine and Cape Nature.
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Victor Cunningham, a SANParks Ranger who is based in the Tsitsikamma section of the GRNP is now the Regional Chairperson of HOSA.
"Cunningham's duties will include assisting in the development of existing trails to reach globally acceptable Green Flag standards and objectives. He will also advise trail owners on how to become involved in HOSA activities," said De Klerk.
For more information on hiking trails in Knysna, call 044 302 5600.