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Want to venture into restricted forests in Junnar? Get department’s permission first

Pune: The Junnar forest division under the Pune circle has made it mandatory for tourists and trekkers to seek its prior permission to explore the reserved forests not approved by the authorities
By Manasi Deshpande
UPDATED ON JAN 12, 2021 06:50 PM IST

Pune: The Junnar forest division under the Pune circle has made it mandatory for tourists and trekkers to seek its prior permission to explore the reserved forests not approved by the authorities. The rule also applies to those who want to rappel, valley cross or camp in forests or forts located in the division. The decision taken on January 10 has been to ensure the safety of tourists and protect the forest ecosystem, said forests officials.

The Pune circle includes Pune and Solapur districts. Pune district has two divisions, Pune and Junnar, and one sub-division, Bhor. Junnar division has 5,826 sq km geographical area with 591.89 sq km under forest cover.

“Tourists and trekking enthusiasts need to inform the taluka forest officer about their planned trip to forts or forests. Those who visit regular places using approved routes do not need to do this,” said Jayaramegowda R, deputy conservator of forests (territorial), Junnar division, Pune circle.

“Some visitors take dangerous paths for trekking or to reach forts. There have been a few unfortunate incidents. Also, some tourists are not sensible towards environment. They dump plastic waste in reserved forests. There have been incidents of fire because of carelessness by visitors. The rule will help check such incidents,” said Jayaramegowda.

Junnar division has four talukas under its jurisdiction and seven forts, including the popular Shivneri, Hadsar and Chavand.

“How will the authorities enforce the rule? How will they monitor people in ranges?” said Vinayak Wadekar, trekker and member of rescue groups.

For visitors’ sake

Forest officials have been instructed to make catalogues of routes where rappelling, valley crossing and camps can be set up. The department will use Google images of these routes and places.

Tourists and trekkers will need to submit application to forest officials at the taluka level with details of their planned routes. It will have to be approved by the forest officials.

Follow precautions during jungle visits

Exploring the woods can be a refreshing activity. Experts though cite some precautions to be followed by visitors to preserve the nature as reckless behaviour, like littering, badly impacts the forest environment.

“Though many who love nature tends to take care of it, there are some who visit the greens just to have fun at a cost that damages the forests. I have seen people bursting crackers from the hilltops in Sahyadri ranges. It is reckless. Everyone must follow some protocols to preserve the nature,” said veteran mountaineer Umesh Zirpe.

Zirpe listed Do’s and Don’ts to be followed during forest visits.

Do’s

Study the local culture before visiting the forests

Respect local people and do not disturb their lives

Study the spot’s capacity to accommodate people. Avoid overcrowding.

Respect nature.

Don’ts

Do not “leave a trace” like dumping waste especially plastics

Do not lit a fire while camping. It may cause wildfires

Do not smoke

Do not consume alcohol.

Do not bring anything back from nature except memories.

Do not harm the ecosystem

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