Bengaluru

Here’s your chance to explore the wilderness in Bengaluru’s backyard

Seven one-day trekking trails around the city launched

A click of a button, and those in the city get access to the wilderness right in Bengaluru’s backyard.

Seven one-day trekking routes, which form the Bengaluru Ecotrails, were inaugurated on Friday. Booking through the website, myecotrip.com, however, will begin only next week.

Ranging from 2 km to 4.5 km, the trails will see over 30 certified natural guides accompanying trekkers. Each guide — who will from among the locals trained in trekking etiquette, first aid and conservation — will accompany up to 10 people.

“The objective is not only for recreation, but also to get people involved in nature conservation and protection,” said Minister for Forests B. Ramanath Rai who inaugurated the trails.

Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board, which is offering the ‘first-of-its-kind’ trails along with the Department of Forests, hopes to imbibe a sense of “walking for Bengaluru’s water security” through the trails. After all, the routes are in Bengaluru Rural, Ramanagaram, Chickballapur, and Tumakuru districts, and the hillocks and surrounding forest areas form a critical part of the Arkavati sub-basin.

“We expect the trekkers to become defenders of these forests and ecosystems, and spread the word of conservation even in the city,” said Vinay Luthra, chairman, KEDB.

Regulation of the illegal

Some of these routes remain popular among trekkers — many of whom do the trails illegally without the permission of the Department of Forests. Mr. Luthra believed 70% of the treks currently were illegal.

“This is a way to regulate these treks. By certifying naturalists who have to accompany groups and setting strict regulations about treks, we can be certain that these treks does not harm the forests or trekkers,” he said.

With range forest officers having the powers to declare more treks open within their divisions, the department hopes to have a network of trails and options for those seeking their tryst with the forests.

The KEDB hopes to launch more trails, particular in the northern Western Ghats where the Great Canara Trails has taken shape, after the monsoons.

A passport to trek

One of the initiatives to be launched “shortly” is the green passport — a simple booklet fashioned to look like the passport that would get stamped each time a forest trail is completed.

“This is to encourage people to come for these treks, like collecting badges for completion of the treks. Even loyalty rewards for those who completed more treks can be included in the near future,” said Vinay Luthra, chairman, Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 6:12:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/heres-your-chance-to-explore-the-wilderness-in-bengalurus-backyard/article19520650.ece

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