BENGALURU: Trekkers are back, hitting the beaten paths over the weekend, after months of hibernation. The Karnataka forest department, which announced the opening of three trek routes on the outskirts of Bengaluru from September 5, was surprised to see the slots quickly booked to capacity.With demand soaring, the Eco-Tourism Board has written to Deputy Conservators of Forests (DCF) in other circles to open up trekking routes. DCFs have sought permission from the forest head office to increase the carrying capacity on some routes.
Earlier this week, the Eco-Tourism Board opened its window for online registration for trekking in Makalidurga, Skandagiri and Avalabetta for the first weekend, September 5 and 6. “Registration is full for Avalabetta and Makalidurga, with 40 trekkers each, and 140 for Skandagiri. There are 11 recognised eco-trails in the state, of which three have been opened for the first time after the lockdown. Based on the number of cases, DCFs will open up other routes for trekking,” Assistant Conservator of Forests Ramesh, in charge of eco-trails in the eco-tourism department, told TNIE.
The forest department and local administration are working overtime to ensure tourists follow health department norms and there is no overcrowding. This, and lack of discipline among visitors, had led the local administrations of Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu to ban the entry of tourists, especially from Bengaluru.