11 January, Lampelri. Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED), Department of Forests and Park Services organised a familiarisation trip to The Royal Botanical Park in Lampelri for tour operators and guides. The visit aimed to create awareness of the facilities and services available at the park. With this trip, it is expected that the tour operators and guides will now include visits to The Royal Botanic Park in their itineraries.
Mrs Pat Darlington, an Australian Volunteer for Environment Education, facilitated the guide tour to Serichu track, rhododendron garden, bamboo grove, orchid house, yak camp, Baritsho Lake and the camp site. The guided trip included bird watching and an introduction to a beautiful broad-leaved forest of rhododendron, oak, breech and other plants present at the park to help tour guides learn about Bhutan’s natural environment and conservation as well as inspire support for the preservation of our country’s rich ecological and cultural heritage.
The Royal Botanical Park at Lampelri was established in 2008. The park covers around 47 square kilometers and aims to enhance conservation and to provide visitors with recreational and educational services. The park has a network of exciting nature trails, a visitor information centre, picnic areas, camping areas, a café offering group catering, an environmental education centre and Baritsho Lake. The park is popular with both locals and foreigners and is a great place to showcase Bhutan’s forests and rhododendrons.
Mrs. Pat Darlington, while talking to the participants, highlighted that Lampelri has a transition of plant species and also said that the park consisted of key indicating species which was further highlighted during the guided walk by the foresters. Further Kezang Dema, of NRED, mentioned the trip as a “preliminary forum to get inspired to such fields.”
A documentary film was also shown about the Park and its rich biodiversity and also the facilities available for the visitors. The participants shared that they are now confident to bring their guest to the Park. The day ended with a discussion on what the Park can do or offer for the visitors. The participants suggested a website with all the information about the Park including the contact numbers of the Park and the cafeteria to make it more accessible.
Taking advantage of the gathering of all the relevant agencies, issues on waste management in the trekking routes inside protected areas were also discussed. Finally NRED took the privilege to thank the Association of Bhutan Tour Operators, the Guide Association of Bhutan and Café Garuda for their support as this insured the success of the day and will result in a closer working relationship between NRED and these organizations.
A total of 50 tour operators and tour guides visited the park.
Submitted by: Tashi Yangzom, ICS with additional inputs from NRED
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