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30 September 2014-12:00 | Author Yasir Abbas | SKARDU PAKISTAN
As per CKNP Visitors registration system this year (till ending September 2014) total 948 tourists visited the Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP). 585 visitors entered in park via Askoli, 95 from Hushey, 1 from Hisper while 267 from Minapin. Keeping in view the peculiar nature of the park, longer duration of stay inside the park, garbage produced in camp sites by the trekkers and expedition members as well as the sustainability of work done by partner organizations particularly EvK2CNR and MGPO for the camps and waste management, Ev-K2-CNR and Directorate of CKNP jointly developed a comprehensive plan for fee implementation of fee system. This year on the basis of said plan fee was imposed by the Secretary Forests Wildlife and Environment Gilgit-Baltistan vide letter No. FW&E-CKNP 3(4)/F/2013 dated March 6, 2014 for the visitors as per prescribed rates and Nationalities mentioned in the notification. Directorate of CKNP implements the visitor registration and park fee from the month of May 2014 till September 2014 through staff deputed at Visitor Registration Centers Askoli Maidan, Hushey and Hisper. The assessment has been made to record overall flow of visitor in park via, as per assessment this year 267 tourist entered into Park via Minapin. Details of the progress made so far regarding the visitors registration along with the fee payment is as under:
Since this fee mechanism is new, implementing for the first time in the park thus some challenges and issues are faced by the staff mainly because of confusion created among the visitors, Tour operators, communities, even CKNP staff due to some letters regarding suspension of the said fee. However CKNP staffs strive their level best to implement the fee system with full spirit in order to help staging CKNP as an ideal tourism destination.
ANNUAL VISITORS FLOW RECORDED IN CKNP VISITOR REGISTRATION CENTERS (2011 TO 2014)
Directorate of Central Karakuram National Park (CKNP) staff visited Baltoro area from July 27 to August 03, 2014. Raja Abid Ali, Project Director, Mr. Yasir Abbas Rizvi, Ecologist, Mr. Mubashar Karim Social Organizer, Mr. Mohammad Ismail Game Watcher, Mr. Zaman Ali, Game Watcher CKNP were the team. Prime objectives were to receive the first K2-Pakistani expedition and Italian members and to monitor the campsites and waste along the tracks to K2, as management of campsites and waste (previously looked after by partner organization EvK2CNR and MGPO) has been transferred to Park Directorate this year. Since on the occasion 60 years later of the first ascent of K2 by the Italian team led by the Duke of Abruzzi, EvK2CNR organized an expedition for K2 consisting of 8 Pakistani climbers and 2 Italian climbers meant to celebrate the 60th anniversary, to present the CKNP as such a protected area where mighty K2 is located and to fortify the high altitude porters of Gilgit-Baltistan.
On 27 July the team set out for Askoli and started trek towards Korophong directly without night stay at Visitor Regsitartion Center Askoli maidan and reached Urdukas on 30 July after 4 days frequent trekking. On August 1, team walked towards Biano (Goro-I) where they received the conquerors of K2 and met with Mr. Agostino Da Polenza President EvK2CNR who was with the Pakistani expedition team. All the expedition members were warmly welcomed by the CKNP team led by the Project Director and was congratulated on the successful summit of the K2, first time by an official Pakistani Expedition. Then the teams together trekked back to the Urdukas campsite where expedition members were welcomed by the camp staff and other tourists. On the same and the next day CKNP team discussed the status of Urdukas campsite with MR. Augostino Da Polenza, President EvK2CNR. The discussion was mostly on the infrastructure at the campsites such as; water supply deficiencies, terraces for camping, staff office and especially the toilets for tourists and porters. Paju camp site status was discussed when EvK2CNR and CKNP teams reached Paju camp, suggestions given by the CKNP team were the same as for the Urdukas campsite. As Paju is a large campsite it was stressed that the waste management should be effectively managed by dedicated camp staff. It was also suggested that a separate area and track should be demarcated for mules so that tourists would not face any disturbance in the camping areas. The president EvK2CNR was also concerned about the track and stressed upon proper trail up keeping activities. Upon reaching Jula Campsite CKNP team organized a small reception event for the expedition where the Project Director, Ecologist and Social Organizer presented traditional caps to all the members including Mr. Augostino Da Polenza. During stay at Jula camp extensive discussion was carried out with the President EvK2CNR for the management of Jula Campsite, where construction of separate sheds and tracks for mules were focused. The toilets at the Jula campsite are not in up-to-date condition which was a concern for both parties and it was suggested that Desi toilets can be more suitable for Jula campsite. Porter sheds were also suggested for all the camp sites by the CKNP team. At the end all the participants vowed for bi-lateral cooperation and coordination in managing the campsites especially the waste management and its transportation. The teams then started their journey down towards Askoli where on the way a large number of CKNP and EvK2CNR staff along with the Braldu community members received and warmly welcomed the expedition and congratulated on the successful summit of the K2 by Pakistani team. Finally the teams proceeded down to Skardu together where a reception was arranged for the Pakistani K2 expedition.