Sopore's Montane Eco Park offers something to everyone
Place for leisure, recreation for visitors, basecamp for trekkers, source of income for locals
Post by Noor Mohi-ud-din on Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Baramulla, Sept 20: The Montane Eco Park Rajpora Rampora, Sopore is a park dotted with deodar trees and a spectacular view of Wular Lake at its foot.
Spread over 100 kanals, the park- 26 km from the Sopore market, is a destination for leisure and enjoyment for Sopore residents and for the travelers from other places .
It is a trekker's gateway to the landscapes of Lolab valley.
Covered in ornamental and medicinal plants, the calm, peaceful air in the park that hangs over the stunning scenery makes summer evenings really special.
The park offers a captivating perspective of the natural surroundings to its visitors who find it an enticing destination to have a good time.
According to Range Officer Mohammad Altaf Dar, around 75000 visitors visited the park during the last six months and with every day the rush is increasing.
“Locals of Sopore, Zainageer, visitors from other districts and school children often visit the park. We are witnessing a huge rush since the establishment of the park in 2019-2020,” he said.
The Range Officer further informed that the Rampur-Rajpur Eco park is a gateway to two famous trek routes of Lolab valley viz Rajpora Lashkoot via Tremokhan top and Rampura to Harwan via Yemberzalwari.
Ruthless cutting of green gold and noble initiative of government
The forest area of Rampur-Rajpur had witnessed a ruthless cutting of green gold by the timber smugglers for which dozens of people were slapped with PSA.
The cutting of trees and smuggling left administration with no option but to involve the people in its protection with an additional mark of earning from it.
Range Officer Mohammad Altaf Dar told Rising Kashmir that the Rampur-Rajpur patch had faced an axe due to lack of connectivity and absence of monitoring.
“Dozens of people were slapped with PSAs over timber smuggling as the major area was cleared of trees.
“While keeping in mind the economic conditions of the people, the department came up with an eco-tourism park which will not only promote nature education but will also create social, economic and cultural incentives for the local population,” Altaf said.
He said that the department believes ecotourism plays a vital role in raising awareness of sustainable forest development, motivating people to conserve forests, and providing economic, social and cultural incentives for the local people while staying environmentally friendly.
“The park is a big leap to bring positive changes in the socio-economic status and conditions of the local populace. The sole aim of administration is to conserve ecosystem, biodiversity and the existence of forest resources. The smuggling in the area is completely eliminated from the area and the locals are being given every sort of support to earn a good life,” Range Officer added.
The main attraction of the park is natural flora, medicinal and ornamental plants, native wildlife designed in wooden artifacts, environment signages, forest setting, rain shelters and amphitheater for students.
The park has a proper seating arrangement for visitors and is decorated with colorful wooden wild animal replicas.
Well maintained gardens and exquisite wooden huts (gazebos) form the major points of attraction of the Eco Park. The park also has washroom facilities for visitors.
“We want to have more tourists flow in the famous picturesque area so that revenue will be generated and more jobs get created for the betterment of society,” Altaf said.
He added that all the necessary steps are being taken by the forest department to attract visitors across the valley to visit the park and cherish its beauty. Ticket counters will be opened and that amount will be utilized for the upgradation of the park,” Altaf told Rising Kashmir.
He said that since the human population has started visiting the place, it is becoming challenging for the departments to ensure the place be eco-friendly, but they are committed to maintain the ecological balance of the area.
“We are also urging visitors not to carry polythene, plastic bags, and plastic bottles when they visit the place,” he requested.
The Montane Eco Park is a camping site in Sopore outskirts which acts as a base camp for trekkers who trek towards Lolab valley.
“This is considered as the most beautiful trek route and trekkers from across the valley do love to trek via this route. We have also designated a few local houses as homestays for tourists with rates upto Rs 1500-2000,” Range Officer Mohammad Altaf said.