Trekking on popular eco-trails likely to get cheaper

Trekking on popular eco-trails likely to get cheaper

 The forest department is likely to slash the prices of the 7 newly launched eco-trails. This move follows the department's decision of reducing the forest entry fee and camera charges.  

"This is being done because of the feedback we received from people. People have pointed out and we have also realised that the rates are on the higher side, which many cannot afford. This has acted as a deterrent for several trekkers who would otherwise frequently trek on this routes in the past." said an official from the forest department.

Presently the fee totals to Rs 450 which will likely be cut to Rs 200. The official said that the proposal to slash the rates by half is being discussed by the head of the department and the government also. Earlier the Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board (KEDB) had fixed Rs 200 as the entry fee, Rs 200 as guide charges and Rs 50 as administrative charges. The forest department and the Board are now discussing to revise the entry fee to Rs 50 and guide charges to Rs 100.

The trekkers have often questioned the qualification and knowledge of the guides. The official said that they have received a feedback that the guides have limited knowledge and are unable to answer the questions on biodiversity, flora and fauna and other subjects to trekkers. This lead to apprehensions among trekkers and many are sceptical in hiring guides. The officials agree that they the guides require adequate training.

According to officials, there have been mixed responses by trekkers from popular spots like Savandurga and Avalabetta.

Three months back the department had opened the gates of seven eco- trails of 2 to 4.5 km in Skandagiri, Savandurga, Makalidurga, Siddarabetta, Avalabetta, Devarayanadurga and in Bidarakatte. Green passports were also introduced for trekkers.

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