South African National Parks Week 2017
The National Park Week concept is one that has been running for quite some time in a number of other countries, specifically in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is a week that is dedicated to creating awareness about national parks, raising the public status of national parks as well as educating the public about the need and use of national parks. In the US this is a week that is proclaimed by the State President and in the UK a number of top officials including the ruling royal family are often involved in the presentations for the week.
The very first national park that was proclaimed in the US, Yellowstone National Park in 1872, was aimed as a rallying point for national unity and pride as well as to create new national symbols in the ‘new country’. The national parks system was to showcase the best the country had to offer in terms of natural and cultural heritage. The aim, therefore, of establishing a National Parks Week in South Africa is to show that the national parks system in SA is linked to the global national parks movement and to showcase the best SA has to offer in terms of natural, cultural and historical heritage.
South African National Parks is to embark on developing an annual National Parks Week for South Africa whose inception is based on the following objectives (in no order of importance):
- To instill a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical, specifically that which is protected within the national parks system.
- To educate the public on the importance of the natural and cultural heritage that is held in custody by Protected Area Agencies, specifically South African National Parks (SANParks).
- It is to restore the status of national parks as envisioned in the first national park established, that of creating pride in one’s heritage and uniting the peoples of South Africa and of the world.
- It is to give the public an understanding of the business of national parks, dispelling the current understanding that national parks are either places of tourism or khaki clad right-wingers.
- To give the public a broader understanding of the custodianship role played by SANParks in conservation.
- To raise awareness about the role national parks in the management of endangered species and the community’s rights to sustainable utilisation of natural resources
- To create a greater understanding of the role of CITES in conservation and the survival of wildlife species
‘Know Your National Parks’
In line with the theme that has been adopted by the organisation since inception the above theme will be the theme for the National Parks Week this current period. This theme is one that is aimed specifically at encouraging and restoring national pride in these areas that have been set aside for protection of South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage.
This week-long campaign from 18 September to 22 September 2017, will be applicable to all the national parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Boulders in Table Mountain National Park and the Namaqua National Park. Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend.
Soutn African National Parks (SANParks)