Stakeholders Support Proposed Blyde River Canyon National Park
By Gavin Olivier
In Bourke's Luck
The public participation meeting for interested and affected stakeholders regarding the proposed Blyde River Canyon National Park (BRCNP) presented by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), Mpumalanga Parks Board and the Department of Agricultural and Land Administration took place on March 2, 2005 at Bourke's Luck, Mpumalanga.
The Blyde River Canyon National Park, in partnership with local communities, will be recognised internationally as one of the world's leading parks by protecting and promoting its unique landscapes, biodiversity and rich cultural assets. In so doing it will contribute significantly to the local and national economy, develop responsible tourism and ensure sustainable utilisation of its natural resources. This is the vision and objectives of the departments concerned.
The Blyde River Canyon National Park will be recognised internationally as one of the world's leading parks by protecting and promoting its unique landscapes, biodiversity and rich cultural assets.
The primary objectives of the Blyde River Canyon were stipulated at this first public participation meeting and the following was presented and discussed:
- To implement co-operative governance between the BRCNP and all spheres of government (Section 2 (b) of the Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act No. 57 of 2003).
- Implement collaborative management strategies to ensure appropriate participation by and benefits to the local communities (Section 2 (f) of the Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act No. 57 of 2003).
- Maintain the diversity of unique landscapes and geological features of the BRCNP.
- Maintain, and where disrupted, restore the ecological processes within the BRCNP.
- Maintain the diversity and composition of the indigenous biota, with special focus on endemic and threatened taxa.
- Protect and interpret the rich cultural and historical heritage of the BRCNP.
- Maintain and/or improve the water quality and quantity within the rivers flowing through the BRCNP with special consideration for unique geo-hydrological features.
- Implement environmental awareness and interpretation programmes.
- Facilitate the optimal utilisation of development opportunities inherent within and adjacent to the BCNR without compromising its ecological integrity, scenic beauty, landscape qualities and cultural and historical heritage.