Soon, go on a canopy trail from Castle Rock to Dudhsagar

Soon, go on a canopy trail from Castle Rock to Dudhsagar

Nature enthusiasts can now explore the magnificent Western Ghats by going on a canopy trail from Castle Rock in Uttara Kannada district to the Dudhsagar Falls, on the border between Karnataka and Goa.

Canopy trails are taken out on higher altitudes where people walk and explore the nature better, especially bird life. These are popular in South America, South Africa and Europe. In India, the Thenmala Eco-tourism in Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala, has successfully explored it.

The department will start the canopy trail from Castle Rock to Dudhsagar, which is part of the Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR), Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Vinay Luthra, said. He made the announcement during the second edition of Karnataka Bird Festival, which was held at the Kulgi Nature Camp in KTR from January 8 to 10, 2016.

The project is part of the department’s efforts to control trekking which is now happening across forest areas. The department wants to check littering and avert deaths. It aims to organise trekking by promoting eco-tourism.

The canopy trail will be part of the Great Canara Trails (a 25-day trek programme from Jog Falls to Castle Rock) and Dudhsagar Eco-Trail. The trail will skip the habitats of Lion-Tailed Macaque to avoid disturbing their nesting, Luthra said.

He further said that the whole of Western Ghats had the potential for eco-trails. The department is identifying other places for canopy trails .  Tourism Minister R V Deshpande and Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister B Ramanath Rai gave in-principle nod to the canopy trail project during the bird festival.

According to Luthra, the Forest Department has started preparing a preliminary report and project estimate. During canopy trails, certain restrictions will be imposed on trekkers. For example, they cannot wander independently; there will be a guide for every ten trekkers; use of camera will be restricted and there will be a dress code.

Through the project, the department can encourage tourists to shift from jeep safari to foot tourism. While jeep safari is preferred by the affluent, it limits the learning environment as one looks only at large mammals. Foot tourism is popular among those who are serious about wildlife tourism, he added.

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