- Khem Raj Gautam
Galkot (Baglung): The trekking entrepreneurs in Baglung district have underlined the need to preserve and conserve the old and natural trekking routes in the district in their original form so as to attract as many as adventure tourists.
The haphazard expansion of road, especially the motorable ones, in the district are not only pushing the existing trekking and hiking trails in the district on the brink of extinction but spurring construction of concrete trekking/hiking trails which have been an eyesore to the adventure tourists, according to a local trekking operator Nilesh Rajbhandari.
“The foreigners prefer trekking on the ‘organic’ trails to the modern roadways,” he said, adding they also want to hike on the trails which are within their budget.
Recently a group of 21 foreign guests trekked in Baglung and relished the local cultural hospitality in the first homestay in the district at Bhakunde but they expressed their displeasure over having to trek through trails which have been reconstructed using cement and concrete, instead of organic one, according to trekking organizer Mahadev Sharma.
Sharma shared that most of the tourists in his group had wished they could trek in the native route that would offer them a ‘thrill feel’ in walking in the wilderness.
He explained, “We had conducted a feasibility study last year. We found that the local homestay operators had been wantonly extending concrete walking trails surrounding their homestay venue. As a result, the stone-paved trekking/hiking trails were converted into concrete walking trails.”
Recently, a Dhaulagiri circuit has been identified that starts from Panchakot and ends at Dhorpatan. The trekking entrepreneurs have pointed out the need to preserve and promote such indigenous hiking and trekking trails in their original form so as to draw adventure tourists.
According to Sharma, concrete trekking routes are costly in terms of construction cost and they are less attractive and trekkers get exhausted more walking on those trails.
Baglung Tourism Development Committee Chairperson Raju Khadka expressed his concern over the existing trekking route stretching from Dhorpatan, Dhuri of Ghumte, Daha of Ganja to Panchakot in Sarbasiddidham that were dying out due to new and modern motorways.
He worryingly said that the one and half kilometer of the 4-kilometer stone-paved trekking route at Ghumte was on the verge of disappearance.
There are 28 homestays in the district. Homestay operators are rapidly constructing concrete trekking/hiking trails and this has further worried trekking operators as the local tourism entrepreneurs’ experience conclude that the tourists visiting their locality do not prefer concrete trails.
Amid this, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is currently constructing Madan Bhandari Trekking Trail which is being built in a traditional manner. To be constructed at a cost of Rs 4.5 million, the under-construction trekking trail has enthused locals and local tourism entrepreneurs, according to Kothekhola Rural Municipality-7 Chair Prem Lamichhane. RSS
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