The plan was to provide comprehensive information to adventure tourists

Every tourism promotion project of Karnataka pushes the pristine Western Ghats as an irresistible option for adventurers. Yet, for the adventure tourists, reliable information on trekking trails is hard to come by.

Curiously, an ambitious project to map the famous and treacherous trekking trails in the Western Ghats has been given the go by the Government itself. The Great Western Ghats Trek project, which had identified 200 ghat trails from Chamarajanagar district to Belgaum district, has been gathering dust in the Tourism Department.

In fact, preliminary work on the GPS-based survey of 14 trekking routes was completed nearly two years ago. “We wanted to prevent accidents by giving proper information to adventure tourists. However, the matter has not been pursued further,” a source told The Hindu.

Challenging treks

The Western Ghats offers very challenging treks in Chickmagalur, Hassan, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga and Belgaum districts.

Under the project, not only would basic information such as the distance and topography details would have been available but also about details on water sources, wildlife, amenities, nearby hospitals and so on were to have been added. “This would have been the first of its kind as such maps/ routes with authentic details are not available to people anywhere.”

Providing details on such vast number of trails would have helped those who would not have ventured out to undesignated routes, according to the source.

“In the absence of any genuine maps or information, youngsters rely on the internet or word-of-mouth for information. This has to be prevented to save lives from being lost,” said B.R. Ramachandra Rao Kale, founder of Lal Bahadur Mountaineering Institute, one of the oldest adventure clubs in Bangalore.

Mr. Kale, who has over 40 years of experience in organising treks, claimed he has basic information on some 75 to 80 popular trekking routes but is looking for a publisher.