They scale high peaks to conserve the nature

Ecohikes, a trekking organisation based in Visakhapatnam, was founded in 2017 to immerse the public in nature, raise awareness of local tribes and cultures.
For representational purposes (Photo | AP)
For representational purposes (Photo | AP)

VISAKHAPATNAM: Developing a close connection with nature and paying attention to what it is trying to convey, we begin to consider conserving and protecting it, stated Ecohikes founder Naveen Rongali. Ecohikes, a trekking organisation based in Visakhapatnam, was founded in 2017 to immerse the public in nature, raise awareness of local tribes and cultures, and instil a sense of responsibility in nature conservation.

Previously worked with the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society in Nallamalla Forest, Naveen closely worked with the tribes there and learned a lot about protection ever since he wanted to do something related to it where he grew up. “I do not have enough knowledge about conservation to start a team. After trekking for 11 years, I found Ecohikes to educate the public about wildlife conservation and tribal life by leading treks to locations in the Eastern Ghats. Getting firsthand experience with tribal life and learning about the rich biodiversity and wildlife here will increase public responsibility in conservation,” he recalled.

Naveen Rongali, Founder of Ecohikes
Naveen Rongali, Founder of Ecohikes

On a mission to conserve nature, Naveen used to trek to many peaks in the Eastern Ghats and travel alone to undiscovered places, looking out for wildlife traces and informing the forest department. “Places rich in biodiversity that do not have much wildlife activity are the best places for trekking. Frequent movement and activity in these areas will help protect those places prone to illegal activities, enhance good interaction with the tribes, and let people understand the need for safeguarding the environment,” he expressed.

Tourist destinations have recently become less appealing due to the abundance of plastic garbage. However, Ecohikes does all in its power to protect these trekking attractions. Along with seeing new sites, trekking with them entails spending a lot of time interacting with the local tribes and learning about their way of life. Commenting on this, Naveen said, “We conduct the treks to connect people with nature, but we do not intend to spoil or pollute it. To this end, we serve them homemade food from local tribes and only use biodegradable products. There is a team of five local tribal trekkers who engage the trekkers with tribal life stories.”

Currently, with a team of 10 members, including Ravi, who specialises in marine activities, and Manohar, a mountaineer, the organisation plans treks eight months a year and has completed more than 450 treks in the Eastern Ghats. These treks have mainly been to lesser-known waterfalls, the and highest peak in the Eastern Ghats.

“Rock climbing is on our list this year. With that, we are planning a five-day summer camp for children where they indulge in various activities each day. Educating them at an early age will help them understand their role in protecting the environment,” he revealed.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express