A few years from now, almost all the twenty dzongkhags in the country might have a nature recreational park each.
The success of the pilot Royal Botanical Park (RBP) at Lamperi has given the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS) enough confidence and reasons to start replicating it in all dzongkhags. In fact, Thimphu Dzongkhag already has one at Kuensel Phodrang with two more in the making.
“Inception of such parks at Samtse and Bumthang are already in the pipeline. In addition, as of now, more than seventy proposals have been received from dzongkhags, territorial divisions and parks for inception of nature recreational park,” remarked an official from Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED).
“However, translating such ambitious plans into actions will depend upon the availability of funds and human resources, since establishment of such recreational facilities entail lot of investment – both financial and technical,” clarified Sonam Choden, Offtg. Chief Forestry Officer, NRED.
Even if the structures take time, the lands will be acquired and registered to be developed as nature recreational parks. This, according to NRED officials will prevent lands being used for constructions of buildings. The land will remain within the custody of the government and will be available for development into parks when required.
The basic amenities in the recreation park according to Sonam Choden will consist of nature trails, picnic spots, signage, toilet facilities, resting canopies, children’s play ground and other facilities.
The Lamperi Park in its last six years of existence has fulfilled most of its inception mandates of identifying and securing appropriate areas for the benefits of the public namely nature recreation and ecotourism programs. Besides, the conservation of flora and fauna, the park also imparts environmental education programs to create awareness about conservation issues and garner support towards conservation of Bhutan’s natural heritage. The park receives educational visits by many teachers and students from Thimpu, Paro, Wangdue and Punakha Dzongkhags besides local and international visitors. “The families from these urban towns also come during the weekends to avail the facilities,” mentioned one park official.
“With ever increasing developmental activities and urbanization, the access to natural recreational facilities is being increasingly felt,” noted Tshering Phuntsho from Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN). According to Sonam Lhamo, Nature Club Coordinator of Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School, the concept of taking such recreational facilities into other urban cities is an exceptionally good idea.