Allow Beyond Black Mountain back into the gardens

Target: 1000
Start petition: 2022-07-06 20:23:58

#Beyond   #Mountain   #gardens   

Caledon is a town founded in 1811 and is situated along the N2 highway about 120km East of Cape Town. It is the official capital of the Overberg, the eigth oldest town in South Africa and functions as the agricultural hub of the Overberg area, in which the major products are grains, fruit, sheep and wine.

The history of this area goes back centuries though, to when the original inhabitants of the area, the Khoi discovered the iron-rich hot springs on the slopes of the Swartberg, long before the arrival of European settlers in the Cape.

This impressive natural heritage together with it’s culturally important khoi kraal and possible other such sites have come under severe pressure due to mismanagement by the local municipality over many years thereby causing species that have developed over millenia in a unique environment like no other in the world to come to the brink of extinction . . . it may already be too late for some species of flora. Some species have developed quite uniquely in areas so that they are so rare that they only occur within a small geographical area and nowhere else on Earth. The Caledon Wildflower and Nature Reserve which was created as a haven for these unique species is currently about 80% overun with alien plant species, crowding out local species and threatening water security to the area.

The once crown-jewel of Caledon, the now 97 year old Wild Flower Garden is situated in a 214Ha site, which was demarcated as a reserve by Queen Victoria in 1899 and placed under the stewardship of the Caledon Municipality. In 1964 it became one of the first Nature Reserves to be proclaimed by the Department of Nature Conservation to protect the endangered fynbos and heather species only found on the slopes of the Klein Swartberg. In the Wild Flower Garden there are water features, lawns, picnic sites and walkways throughout the 56Ha of trees and plants under cultivation - against a backdrop of the nature reserve’s and privately managed Klein Swartberg conservancy’s mountainside. Some say that it is more impressive than Kirstenbosch, because it demonstrates the ability of plants to survive in adverse conditions.

Into this background, Beyond Black Mountain aims to partner with other like-minded organisations to bring this area back from the brink and reinvigorate this unique biosphere to preserve it for future generations and thereby also kickstart other initiatives that can tie into this vision.

During November 2021, the then municipality signed into action a Memorandum of Understanding that would allow Beyond Black Mountain to start work in the Caledon Wildflower Gardens and Nature Reserve in conjunction with the municipality to look at various conservation projects to revitalise the gardens and the nature reserve. After elections, the new municipality have hindered this process and prevented further progress . . . all the while, time is running out for the many potentially critically endangered species.

We want to create a network with the Caledon Wildflower Garden and Nature Reserve as the centre of a web spanning various conservation, eco-tourism, learnership, tourism, local-economic development and other programs to present a wholistic picture of what is possible when people unite with conservation at its centre, but we need assitance to make this a reality.

Please sign this petition and show the Theewaterskloof Municipality your support for Beyond Black Mountain to continue their conservation work in the Caledon Wildflower Garden and Nature Reserve as was signed into contract through the Memorandum of Understanding.

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Last Comments

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