Jammu and Kashmir okays 7 new trekking routes in protected wildlife areas

Jammu: In a mega push to promote eco-tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, the Administrative Council headed by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday approved development of seven new trekking routes in various protected wildlife areas.

It also okayed opening up of existing infrastructure and resources of the forest department to tourists and wildlife enthusiasts to sustainably promote tourism in the forest hinterland without disturbing the ecological balance in the protected areas, a spokesperson said.

He said the decisions would allow online booking of 29 forest rest houses and inspection huts in Kashmir and Jammu divisions, under a common brand and logo from May 1.

The department of Forest, Ecology and Environment has been directed to put in place a user-friendly online portal for booking identified rest houses on a first-come, first-serve basis according to their availability and intake capacity, the spokesperson said.

He said the department was directed to refurbish and open another batch of 58 rest houses and huts to tourists by July 1.

These accommodations are located in different forest divisions at the quaintest places amid pristine nature, he said, adding till now they were reserved for forest officers to be utilized only during official tours.

The spokesperson said the administrative council approved development of new trekking routes in Bahu Conservation Reserve, Sudhmahadev Conservation Reserve, Thein Wildlife Conservation Reserve, Tral Wildlife Sanctuary-Dachigam National Park-Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, Thajwas Wildlife Sanctuary, Khrew Wildlife Conservation Reserve-Dachigam National Park-Khonmoh Conservation Reserve, and Khrew Wildlife Conservation Reserve.

“The trekking avenues range from short day-long treks up and down mountain slopes to long trans-mountain traverses involving a week of trekking and camping in the wilderness,” he said.

“Now that youth across India are inclined more towards adventure activities, these treks will be developed as well sought-after destinations for trekkers. The development of these trekking routes will provide gainful employment to the local population and tap the adventure/eco-tourism potential of the Union Territory,” the spokesperson said. (PTI)

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