Forest dept steps in to regularise trekking at Kudremukh

Forest dept steps in to regularise trekking at Kudremukh

Trekkers to be provided guides; curbs on number of tourists

Forest dept steps in to regularise trekking at Kudremukh

The Forest department is chalking out plans to start regulated and organised trekking at the Kudremukh National Park (KNP) in Chikkamagaluru district.

The park - which was once in the news because of mining and later over a controversy for losing the tiger reserve status due to some issues - is a popular trekking destination.

D Maria Christu Raja, Deputy Conservator of Forests, KNP, told Deccan Herald that a detailed plan was being chalked out.

“The idea is to regulate tourism and publicise it. We want to limit the number of tourists visiting the place and allow people only on prior online reservation,” he said.

Daily 100-150 people visit the national park to trek and most are from Bengaluru. Permission is given on the spot, tickets are issued and a guide is provided. By regularising it, the department will know in advance how many people are coming and safety can be better ensured. The time gap between trekking groups will also be maintained. By regularising trekking, safety of tourists and forests will be ensured. Presently, the Kudremukh trek has been suspended as it is the season prone to fires.

There are instances where trekkers have ignited fire by throwing away cigarette butts. There are also cases where people have put up camps and cooked food, damaging the forest patch.

“Trekkers do not take permission or guides. They go in large groups, indulge in anti-social activities and even get lost. Littering the forest is another problem. All this will stop once trekking is regulated. Another important aspect is many areas will be closed and only some will be opened, in the wake of tiger sightings in the park,” said another forest official. 

Trekking to the Kudremukh peak, a 20-km two-way route, and Kurinjal peak, a seven-km route, are very popular in the national park. Apart from this, the Kambadi waterfalls is popular during the monsoon. The Kudremukh peak is the third highest in Karnataka after Mullayyanagiri and Bababudangiri.

“We are planning to start training more guides to help tourists. They will be trained in trekking as that is the main attraction of Kudremukh. Last year, 40 guides were trained. But many of them left the profession for better employment elsewhere,” Raja said.