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Eco-Parks turn into major Tourist attractions in Kupwara

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Witness surge in tourist footfall, promote livelihood for the local people

KUPWARA: Eco-tourism parks developed by the Forest department in Kamraj forest division of Kupwara district are witnessing a huge visitor’s influx these days owing to the forest department’s successful initiatives to develop Eco-tourism infrastructure and provide livelihood opportunities to several rural households.

Nagriwari Eco Park at Hatmulla, Kairwan Eco-Park at Dever and Satbaran Eco-Park at Lastiyal Kalaroose have become sure stops, most preferred Eco-tourism and biodiversity-tourism attractions in Kupwara district.

People are seen spending their quality time with their family and friends in these Eco-Parks developed under Schemes like Green India Mission and CAMPA.

As summer tourism in Kupwara district has picked up, these prominent Eco- parks are witnessing a remarkable surge in tourism activities with thousands of local visitors, families, and students of different educational institutions and environment enthusiasts thronging these parks daily. Apart from becoming main tourism attractions these parks have become sources of generation of livelihood for several families living in the close vicinity of these parks.

With slight increase in temperatures in Kupwara and other parts of North Kashmir these days, the rush of visitors has grown manifold as visitors in large numbers are seen enjoying varied flora, fauna and cool temperature of these parks located in the foothills of lush green and thick forests.

The officials of the department estimate that per month on an average around 50,000 local visitors pay a visit to these Eco-parks.

More than 110 rural families living in the peripheral areas of these Ecotourism parks are earning their livelihood with the help of these parks.

NAGRIWARI Eco-Park, spread over an area of 7-hectares this park is located in the foot-hills of lush green forests of Compartment 82/M, This forest park is around 5 kilometers away from district headquarters Kupwara and has been beautifully landscaped with conifer trees, medicinal and ornamental plants and native shrubs.

This Park has a natural forest setting, open class room facility for students, and informative educational signage installed for engaging students and educating them about the importance of forests.

Nagriwari-Eco-Park is an ideal location for visitors to enjoy cool breeze, ideal ambiance, captivating views and serenity of nature. Park offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts with infrastructure for adventurous activities. Besides, it provides immense opportunities for Nature Walks, Bird Watching, Photography, etc.

Nagriwari –Eco Park has been established under Scheme “Green India Mission” with the project cost of Rs.7.178 lacs during the year 2021-22. This Eco-Park has got an average tourist foot-fall of 15,000 per month, besides providing livelihood directly to 65 families.

KAIRWAN Eco-Park, spread over a forest area of 18- Hectares at Anderbugh Lolab, Kairwan or Kailvan Eco-Park is nestled in the dense and lush green forests. This Eco-Park has mesmerizing views, breathtaking landscapes and lush green meadows. Adventure camps are being conducted in Kairwan Dever where tourists engage in activities like Zip-lining, Wall climbing, sightseeing besides there are immense opportunities for nature-based recreation like Guided Nature walks, Bird Watching, Photography, etc.

Established under Centrally Sponsored Scheme “CAMPA” during the year 2021-22 with a project cost of 4.92 lacs, Kairwan Eco-Park has got an average foot-fall of 10,000 visitors per month during summers, besides providing livelihood (dignified living) directly to 20 families.

SATBARAN Eco-Park, established under Centrally Sponsored Scheme “CAMPA” during the year 2022-23 at the project cost of 22.83 lacs, Satbaran Eco-park is spread over a forest area of 1.31 Hactares at Lastiyal Kalaroose near the famous Satbaran Caves. Satbaran Eco-Park remains the tourist hub as a large number of tourists’ daily throng there to see the famous Satbaran Caves and simultaneously enjoy the scintillating environs of Satnarn Eco-Park.

Satbaran Eco- Park has got a foot-fall of 12000 visitors per month on an average, besides the park is providing livelihood to 25 families. Being an ideal location for adventure, sightseeing, camping and trekking, Satbaran Eco-Park has great potential for eco-friendly activities and nature-based recreation like Rock-climbing, Guided Nature walks, Bird Watching, Photography, etc.

Apart from developing these Eco-Parks, Kamraj Forest Division has developed a number of Trek routes for Trekking enthusiasts such as Trek-Route at Affan-Amri, Trek- route at Dever, Trek-route at Kailwan-Trimukhan -Top through which these remote and undisturbed natural attractions have got explored.

Authorities are hopeful that these Trek routes and Eco-Tourism destinations will attract national and foreign tourists and researchers from all over the globe in future.

“Ecotourism plays a vital role in conserving the local natural surroundings, promotes livelihood by raising awareness of sustainable forest development, motivating people to conserve forests and providing economic, social and cultural incentives for the local people while staying environment friendly”, said Dr. Zahid Mougal, DFO Kamraj

“With the major success of these Ecotourism parks, and other infrastructure we are planning to develop 5 more such Eco-Parks including Eco-Park at Shadipora, Eco-Park at Chak Natnussa, Eco-Park at Lalpora, Eco-Park at Sogam and Eco-Park at Hemal Warnow under “Green India Mission” and “CAMPA” during the current Financial year 2023-24” added DFO Kamraj.

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