Karnataka environment minister Eshwar Khandre has announced a temporary ban on trekking activities in forest areas, excluding online-bookable trekking routes, effective from February 1. The decision comes in the aftermath of an incident where approximately 4,000 trekkers were observed in the ecologically sensitive Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, particularly around the Kumara Parvatha peak.
The minister highlighted the need for regulation in trekking activities to preserve the ecosystem and prevent issues such as pollution, plastic waste, and disturbance to wildlife. The ban aims to address these concerns until appropriate standard operating procedures are established.
The recent overcrowding incident prompted the minister to direct the forest department to implement measures that would prevent unregulated access to ecologically fragile areas. Khandre emphasized the importance of trekkers’ passion being balanced with environmental conservation and noted that the uncontrolled entry of trekkers could adversely impact sensitive ecosystems. The ban seeks to curb chaos in such areas and mitigate the environmental impact caused by unregulated trekking.
Additionally, the state government had previously imposed a trekking ban from March to September due to concerns related to forest fires and the monsoon season.
The decision to temporarily halt trekking activities underscores the government’s commitment to preserving the natural environment and maintaining the ecological balance in forested areas.