Great Canara Trails to be re-routed to bypass Kali Tiger Reserve

Great Canara Trails to be re-routed to bypass Kali Tiger Reserve

Great Canara Trails to be re-routed to bypass Kali Tiger Reserve
The route of Great Canara Trails, the most-awaited forest trekking and canopy walk in Karnataka, will now change.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting between Forest Department officials and representatives of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on Friday.

“We have decided to alter the route of the 257-km trail, as 97 km of it passes through core areas including the pristine Kali Tiger Reserve. Since the NTCA did not approve of the original route and the project was delayed for long, it was decided to alter the route. The project is very much on track and we aim to open the route after the monsoon,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) P Anur Reddy told DH.

The new route will be redone by the Karnataka Eco Tourism Development Board (KEDB) and deputy conservators of forests of all forest areas. A formal announcement will be made thereafter. The route will be changed wherever the trail passes through the core areas. The maximum changes will be done in the Kali Tiger Reserve, Reddy added.

In the original alignment, the trail originated in Jog Falls and passed through Kattekan, Garuda Jog, Unchalli, Devimane Ghat, Shivaganga Falls, Ganesh Falls, Bedthi river valley, Lalguli Falls, Kali river, Shivapura in Anshi, Ulavi, Kumarwada, Kuveshi and Diggi before culminating at Castle Rock. A 108-km stretch of the trail between Ulavi and Castle Rock was planned to be opened in the first phase, of which 97 km falls in the Kali Tiger Reserve.

The NTCA objected to the trail citing a Supreme court order that stated that people should be allowed only in tourism areas. The NTCA asked the Forest Department to take a relook into the project stating that Karnataka, having the largest populations of tigers and elephants in India, is vulnerable to poaching.

Some retired forest officials also raised concerns over the trail. Among them was former principal chief conservator of forests B K Singh. He said core areas and tiger reserves should not be disturbed and cited the Supreme Court order of October 2012 that tourism be limited to the tourism area or 20% of the core area. The tourism zone in Karnataka is smaller and it should be maintained that way, he added.
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