The Joan Muirhead Nature Reserve was proclaimed as a Local Nature Reserve in terms of an Environmental Conservation Ordinance on 1 February 1985. The Reserve was administered by a Board on which Prof Roy Lubke of the Botany Department at Rhodes University and Mr Chester Wilmot of Kenton served from its inception until it was dissolved by the Ndlambe municipality. According to Mr Wilmot, who was Chairman of the Board at the time, no explanation was given.
Early in the new millennium, as a result of the promulgation of the Municipal Structures Act, the municipalities of Kenton, Port Alfred and Bathurst were amalgamated under the authority of the Ndlambe local government, seated in Port Alfred. The position of Town Clerk, Kenton on Sea fell away. While the Town Clerk, Mr ML Matiwane, held that position he requested Rhodes University to do a survey of the fauna and flora that could be found in the Reserve at the time. A copy of his letter was provided by Prof Lubke, who was the author of the letter.