Nestled in the Kamraj forest division in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, a series of eco-tourism parks has emerged as the epitome of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation in the area. Developed by the Forest Department under the visionary schemes of Green India Mission and CAMPA, these parks have become a resounding success, attracting a significant influx of visitors and providing much-needed livelihood opportunities for rural households.
Leading the pack are the Nagriwari Eco Park at Hatmulla, Kairwan Eco-Park at Dever, and Satbaran Eco-Park at Lastiyal Kalaroose. These destinations have quickly become the preferred choice for eco-tourism and biodiversity exploration in the region. As the summer tourism season takes flight in Kupwara district, these prominent eco-parks are seeing a remarkable surge in activity. Thousands of locals, families, students, and environmental enthusiasts flock to these parks on a daily basis, seeking solace in the lush greenery and cool temperatures offered by the foothills of the Kamraj forest.
Forest Department officials estimate that an average of 50,000 local visitors explore these eco-parks every month, creating a thriving ecosystem for over 110 rural families residing in the vicinity. Nagriwari Eco Park, which is spread across 7 hectares in Compartment 82/M, Nagriwari Eco-Park, boasts meticulously landscaped conifer trees, medicinal plants, ornamental flora, and native shrubs.
Offering a natural forest setting and equipped with open classrooms and educational signage, Nagriwari Eco-Park provides an ideal retreat for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. Visitors can enjoy leisurely nature walks, birdwatching, and photography, immersing themselves in the beauty and serenity of the park. Established under the Green India Mission, this park sees an average footfall of 15,000 visitors per month, providing direct livelihood opportunities for 65 families.
Kairwan Eco Park, encompassing 18 hectares of dense forests in Anderbugh Lolab, Kairwan Eco-Park, is a haven for those seeking breathtaking landscapes and lush green meadows. Adventure camps, featuring activities such as zip-lining and wall climbing, enthrall visitors, while guided nature walks, birdwatching, and photography allow for nature-based recreation. Kairwan Eco-Park, established under the CAMPA scheme, attracts an average of 10,000 visitors per month during the summer season, offering dignified livelihoods to 20 families.
Satbaran Eco Park, situated near the renowned Satbaran Caves, has emerged as a tourist hub. The park’s captivating ambiance and the allure of the nearby caves draw in a steady stream of visitors. With an average footfall of 12,000 visitors per month, Satbaran Eco-Park provides an ideal location for adventure activities, sightseeing, camping, and trekking. Rock climbing, guided nature walks, birdwatching, and photography are just some of the eco-friendly activities visitors can partake in. This park, established under the CAMPA scheme, offers livelihood opportunities for 25 families.
The Forest Department’s commitment to eco-tourism development extends beyond these parks. They have also created a network of trekking routes, including the Affan-Amri, Dever, and Kailwan-Trimukhan-Top routes, to explore the remote and pristine natural attractions of the region. By opening up these routes, authorities hope to attract national and international tourists as well as researchers from around the globe in the future.
Zahid Aslam Mughal, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Kamraj, highlighted the crucial role of ecotourism in preserving the local environment and promoting sustainable forest development. He emphasized how ecotourism not only raises awareness but also provides economic, social, and cultural incentives for the local population while maintaining an environmentally friendly approach.
“We have witnessed the significant success of these ecotourism parks and other infrastructure initiatives. As a result, we are planning to develop five more eco-parks, including Shadipora, Chak Natnussa, Lalpora, Sogam, and Hemal Warnow, under the Green India Mission and CAMPA in the current financial year 2023-24,” Kamraj said.
With its commitment to conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and engaging eco-tourism experiences, Kamraj Forest Division is showcasing the harmonious coexistence of nature and humanity. These eco-parks not only provide a sanctuary for visitors seeking tranquility and natural beauty but also serve as a catalyst for local economic growth and community empowerment. As more people embark on this eco-adventure, Kamraj Forest Division stands poised to become a model for ecotourism initiatives across the country.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.