As part of the Knysna Explorer Series, the Knysna Timber Route was launched at Fine Furniture in Woodmill Walk on Thursday 27 October.
Speaking at the function, CEO of Geo Parkes & Sons Jim Parkes said that it was high time to revitalise Knysna’s timber industry. “Knysna used to be known in the world as a timber town producing a wide variety of quality wood products – especially furniture. It is time that we recreate the identity of a sustainable, productive and successful timber town.”
CEO of Knysna Tourism Shaun van Eck said that creating more awareness of Knysna’s timber industry is sure to attract a host of new visitors to the beautiful town. “Travellers have evolved to the point where they want to feel that they actually did something during their holiday – that they had an interesting and unique experience.”
“Following the Knysna Timber Route will give them that experience and expose our local suppliers, producers, manufacturers and crafters within the timber industry to a whole new client base,” van Eck continued. “Not only will our local economy be boosted by the extra visitors the route is bound to attract, it will also benefit from the commercial trade which will be generated within the timber industry.”
Parkes also assured those attending the launch that Geo Parkes & Sons is committed to growing, harvesting and processing timber in a sustainable, earth-friendly manner. “We realise that in order for the timber industry to remain sustainable, it has to run responsibly.”
“We are proud members of the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC), an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation established in 1993 to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests,” he explained. “We also work very closely with SANParks who inspect our trees before harvesting. We only cut down a tree once SANParks has issued a permit to do so. This is true for each and every tree that we harvest.”
Also speaking at the launch, Mrs Margaret Parkes, lifetime local resident and expert on local history, gave a brief and informative history of the timber industry in Knysna.
In closing, van Eck said that this early pioneering spirit and love for timber must be reignited. “I believe that we are doing that with the Knysna Timber Route. Aside from the estuary, it is our forests that make Knysna the special place it is.”
“It is our responsibility to not only use what the forest offers us to our advantage, but to do so responsibly,” he concluded. “I know that anyone who follows the route will realise that we are doing so.”
For more information on the Knysna Timber Route, please visit the Knysna Tourism office in the Main Road of Knysna, or visit http://www.visitknysna.co.za/explore/history/227-say-timber