Lack of foot trail hits Dhorpatan tourismDhorpatan, the nation’s only hunting reserve, remains out of reach for majority of domestic tourists interested in hunting or wanting to enjoy scenic views
“While tourists and hunting enthusiasts from various other countries charter helicopters to reach the reserve in order to enjoy natural surrounding and the thrill of hunting, we are compelled to illustrate Dhorpatan just on a map for domestic tourists who are eager to visit Dhorpatan but can’t because of lack of foot trails,” said Arjun Chokhal, chairperson of Hotel Entrepreneurs Association, Baglung.
Dhorpatan, which entertains an average of only 100 tourists every year, has not been able to cash in on its full potential as many foreign tourists recount the problem of inadequate rest stops with proper accommodation facilities along the trail.
“Although some reach Dhorpatan via Burtibang or Myagdi, we are yet to come up with a fixed walking trail,” said Basanta Kumar Shrestha, chairperson of Commerce and Industries Association, Baglung. Shrestha also said that despite repeated requests to the government to build a fixed foot trail to reach the hunting reserve for years, it was unfortunate that the matter was ignored by this year’s fiscal year budget as well. Shrestha also claimed that due to the absence of a proper foot trail, more than a dozen potential tourist destinations in the district remain in the shadows. As a result, Nepali hunting enthusiasts have been deprived of the thrill of hunting in the famous hunting reserve that has been visited by some of the renowned hunters from around the world. The Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve is located at a distance of 150 kms from the district headquarters.
“Apart from the famous Kalika Temple, which attracts an average of 600,000 domestic tourists every year, there is no record of domestic tourists venturing into other scenic locations in the Dhorpatan area even for a day or two,” Chokhal said.
Demanding that the annual budget for the district must set aside a certain amount of money for carrying out a survey and construction of at least one foot trail, Chokhal alleged that the tendency of the government allocating the budget only under political influence had hampered the growth of tourism and infrastructure development in the region.
He further said that the government apathy regarding this matter, year after year, was indeed saddening. Meanwhile, stressing on optimal exploitation of four sectors having great potential in the district such as tourism, hydropower, agriculture, and commerce, Shrestha urged the government to manage the budget “on a priority basis”. Likewise, Chokhal said that the local entrepreneurs, too, were positive towards investment for the exploitation of tourism in the area. Taking into account the problem of proper accommodation facilities, small and cottage industries development programme and association has built a lodge with a capacity to cater to 30-50 tourists, at a time, reaching the area.