Sustainable Utilization of Natural Resources: a community Based Conservation Effort in Bar Valley, Gilgit, Pakistan

Developing Bar Valley as an ecotourism destination

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Developing Bar Valley as an ecotourism destination

In order to prepare and promote Bar Valley as a tourist destination, WWF/Pakistan worked with the local communities to improve tourist facilities as well as develop promotional material on the valley. Moreover, when the project first began it was uncertain whether the government would allow trophy hunting in the area, and more importantly whether the villagers would be permitted to keep the profits generated from the hunting if allowed. In response to this possibility, the community identified various aspects of their natural and cultural environment that were of potential interest to tourists. Campgrounds were designated, and 20 tents and other camping equipment were given to the local communities to accommodate tourists visiting scenic spots in the valley. Other ecotourism activities were designed to diversify the range of activities for the tourists. These activities included:

u the availability of riding facilities (on horses and yaks);

u cultural shows for tourists in Dainter Village on weekends;

u training of guides and porters for trekking and hikes;

u training of local people in the preparation of hygienic local and foreign foods; and

u the availability of transport facilities to and from the nearest town where transport services for other destinations are available.

Many of the activities have begun and several families are now earning a substantial amount of money. Rates and charges were fixed through mutual consultations with partners, and the quality of services in the valley has been regularly monitored.

Bari Darukush, an area which represents a mosaic of mountain habitats, grasslands and wetlands was closed for all uses except trophy hunting and limited grazing. This area will be maintained for limited camping, tourism activities and research studies.

To promote the area as a tourist destination, WWF/Pakistan is preparing a video on the cultural and biological resources of the valley. Likewise, a brochure was prepared and distributed to important tourist hotels, the Pakistan International Airlines office and bus stations to attract tourists to the area.

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