Guidelines help streamline tourism in Tamhini Wildlife Reserve - Hindustan Times
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Guidelines help streamline tourism in Tamhini Wildlife Reserve

Feb 11, 2024 07:56 AM IST

Tamhini and Sudhagad have officially become forest reserves in 2022 as against their earlier status as wildlife sanctuaries

PUNE: Implementing responsible ecotourism guidelines in the Tamhini Wildlife Reserve in 2023 has helped streamline tourism in the sanctuary areas, with the reserve forest area welcoming 11,000 visitors from across the district in the last six to seven months, management of plastic and other kind of waste dumped in the forest, the department collecting 3.50 lakh in entry fees, and helping bring the locals into the ambit of the conservation programme through proper training.

Considering the importance and popularity of this ecologically sensitive area, the Pune forest department has started a programme to promote responsible ecotourism in the area. (HT PHOTO)
Considering the importance and popularity of this ecologically sensitive area, the Pune forest department has started a programme to promote responsible ecotourism in the area. (HT PHOTO)

Tamhini and Sudhagad have officially become forest reserves in 2022 as against their earlier status as wildlife sanctuaries. Throughout the year, the reserve forest area is visited for popular tourist spots such as Andharban forest, Plus Valley and Devkund. The reserve forest area is home to many species of flora and fauna. Many people visit this area, especially during the monsoon, to explore the natural beauty of the Tamhini forest reserve. Treks in the Andharban and Valley areas are also quite popular with adventure enthusiasts.

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Considering the importance and popularity of this ecologically sensitive area, the Pune forest department has started a programme to promote responsible ecotourism in the area. Under this, the department has prepared some guidelines including regulating forest entry and prevention of harmful behaviour on the part of tourists. The department is implementing this programme with the help of local villagers and for this, training has been provided to 80 youngsters from five surrounding villages. Trained and well-informed manpower in the area helps the visitors to get to know the reserve better.

Tushar Chavhan, deputy conservator of forests (wildlife), Pune forest division, said, “To regulate tourism activity, the department has undertaken various works in the reserve area. Water facilities have been made available at various locations. Tourists are strictly guided about not throwing any plastic waste inside the forest areas. A plastic bottle deposit scheme is also being implemented, in which a deposit is being taken from tourists which would be given back once the tourist deposits the bottles at the exit point.”

Chavhan said that they have also undertaken the construction of small wooden bridges and setting up of facilities for drinking water in the vicinity. Moreover, various safety and precautionary measures have also been undertaken in the forest areas.

Onkar Oak, director, Maharashtra Adventure Council (MAC), said, “Earlier, there used to be a huge regulated crowd that used to visit the Andharban area. Several accidents occurred in the valley and the water stream areas previously. After declaration of a reserve forest, the forest department began to keep a check on the tourists. The department also implemented various safety measures such as installing ropes, coils etc. Moreover, the department people are always there in the vicinity so if any incident occurs, the team reaches the location in a very short period of time. This way, the response and safety have improved significantly.”

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