Annapurna Conservation Area
Annapurna Conservation Area is one of the largest protected areas which cover 7629 sq. KM. Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) was established to promote, protect and conserve the mountains of this region while the mainstream is to contribute to the sustainable tourism practice. It was established in 1992 with an aim to protect and beat the environmental degradation in the range of Annapurna Mountain, across the districts of Manang, Mustang, Kaski, Myagdi, and Lamjung. This region consists of the world’s deepest gorge in the Kali Gandaki River, and also contains the world’s largest Rhododendron forest in Ghorepani. Pokhara is the nearest city and the gateway to enter the Annapurna Conservation area.
From Pokhara, one can reach popular destinations within the Annapurna Conservation Area as it is the nearest city to the Annapurna region. Traveling to Pokhara can be done by drive or by flight from the capital city, Kathmandu. Public bus or hire vehicle services are available from Pokhara to reach alternative places. Annapurna Conservation Area is most suitable for an adventure tour, trekking, and sports like mountain biking.
The main attracting parts of Annapurna region are views from the path moving up to the Marshyangdi, Kali Gandaki & Seti rivers, exploring the beautiful surroundings & landscapes, a remarkable destination like Jomsom, Ghandruk, Upper Mustang, Manang, Kagbeni, visiting the Buddhist monastery-Barga, highest altitude lake Tilicho, the highest pass of the world, Thorong La (5416m), The Pilgrim site of Muktinath, Natural hot spring Tatopani and also discover the culture of Gurung, Magar & Thakali’s ethnic group which is influenced from Tibetan culture. Green paddy fields, rich forest, and glacial areas are some remarkable attractions of this region.
Brief History of Annapurna Conservation Area Project
- Annapurna Conservation Area was launched in 1986 and comprises of 7629 sq. km in the Annapurna region.
- ACAP initially experimented as a pilot Programme in the Ghandruk Village Development Committee (VDC) in 1986.
- In 1992, the ACAP covered the entire area for conservation through a community-based approach.
- To manage the project effectively, the subunits are formed in 7 conservation offices, which includes: Manang, Jomsom, Lo-Manthang, Bhujung, Sikles, Ghandruk and Lwang.
- The revenue from the tourism activities is invested back to the communities, and its resources.
- The local participation in perpetuity for sustainable tourism practice is the main aim behind its establishment.
- The goal, as defined by National Trust for Conservation, behind the establishment of ACAP is “To achieve the sustained balance between nature conservation and socio-economic improvement in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) thereby assist National Trust for Nature Conservation in achieving its goal.”
Annapurna, a true paradise on earth, offers you the beautiful views of the mountains. It exposes other unique species of flora and fauna including some wildlife and astounding mountain sceneries. There are spectacular Himalayan ranges surrounding it. Major mountain ranges in Annapurna Conservation Area are Annapurna Range, Dhaulagiri Range and Machhapuchhre. Machhapuchhre is the most beautiful mountain with a fishtail shape. Some other Himalayas that lies in this region are Annapurna III, Annapurna II, Tilicho, Machhapuchhre and Dhaulagiri. Capturing the views of all these Himalayan ranges and mountains from Poonhill station is a divine experience. Poonhill station provides magnificent sunrise and sunset views with a mindblowing reflection in the mountains.
Trekking in this region covers a wide range of cultural and geographical varieties and exposes you with a different mountain panorama. Every little slant of it’s natural and cultural excellence will catch your eyes and soul. Annapurna Base Camp trek, Annapurna Circuit trek, Upper Mustang trek, Ghorepani- Poonhill trek, Jomsom-Muktinath trek, come under the Annapurna Conservation Area.
Annapurna Base Camp trek starts from Pokhara and also ends on Pokhara, whereas Annapurna Circuit trek starts from Lamjung and end on Pokhara. Lifestyle and tradition of the ethnic settlement in the Annapurna region are really fascinating. Even the remote villages on this route offer quality lodges and guest houses that are eagerly waiting to serve the tourists with enormous hospitality. There are over 1,000 lodges, tea houses and hundreds of other subsidiary services to cater to the need of trekkers, travellers and pilgrims.
Objectives of Annapurna Conservation Area
- The conservation of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
- To bring sustainable social and economic development to the local people.
- Develop tourism in such a way that it will have minimum negative impact on the natural, socio-cultural and economic environments.
Trekking will be more fun with mountain biking, which is another attraction of this region. Annapurna conservation area would probably the best place to explore the ultimate experience of trekking in Nepal.
The Map of Annapurna Conservation Area is attached herewith which will give you some insights on its emergence and working areas.
The Annapurna Conservation Area is the major initiation of the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). It is the first initiation that undertakes the very necessity of the act towards the conservation of nature and the ecosystem. The area is home to an estimated 100,000 residents of diverse cultural and linguistic groups. Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) is so far an effective project that has rigor contribution of sustainable development and the conservation inception in the mountains of Nepal.
The rich biodiversity which includes around 1226 species of flowering plants, 105 mammals, more than 500 species of birds, 40 reptiles and 23 amphibians.
Rivaled by the immense cultural diversity, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) is effective and excellent practice and a very good measure of Nepal towards sustainable development in the mountains of Nepal.
The major concern of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project is to promote the use of biodegradable products, waste management of the litters produced by the visitors, trekkers and hoteliers in the region and other approaches. The integrated community-based conservation approach while addressing the development with an experimental model is the major concern of this project.
The associated residents and the stakeholders of the region are equally aware of the development, environmental change, and the arising issues of the region. The environment is the future and its conservation is very essential. For that, the project is working while contributing to the local communities and making efforts for sustainable practice. The sustainable concept of equal participation and contribution of communities, environment and economy is well interpreted and the practice is well designed for the development of tourism.
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Permit
To enter the Annapurna Conservation Area, you must obtain a permit by paying certain fees. The permit can be obtained from the subunits of Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and NTB service centre in Pokhara, and from different travel agencies which will help you to obtain the ACAP Permit.
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The permits are essential to trek or travel in the Annapurna Region. At the different entry points in Annapurna Region, the travellers are obliged to show the Permit issued by the suboffices of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project.