Gania: The state’s first canopy walk or tree walk is now open to the public at the Satkosia Sands Resort in South Badmul (Manganasi) in this district. An interesting feature of the canopy walk structure is that it was designed and built by villagers with assistance from forest officials.
“No outside help was taken, except for browsing the Internet for ideas. This is the first canopy walkway in the state and the second in India,” said Anshu Pragyan Das, Divisional Forest Officer of Mahanadi Wildlife Division.
The Satkosia Tiger Reserve covers 988.30 sqkm in Nayagarh, Cuttack, Boudh and Angul districts in the Mahanadi Wildlife Division (Nayagarh).
The 120-metre walk connects two trees along the Mahanadi. Tourists can walk through the trees on the structure located 25 feet above ground.
The tree walk facility here has been so popular that this year many tourists from in and outside the state, and from countries like France, Germany, Belgium and England took part in it. “The walk is a new way to explore the forests of the Eastern Ghats in Satkosia,” the DFO said.
The Satkosia Sands Resort project was launched in 2016 with three tents and an investment of Rs 2 lakh. It attracted many, and the eco-development committee subsequently earned Rs 4 lakh from it, she said.
The project has proved to be a boon for the villagers staying in the forest division, which is home to around 332 varieties of migratory and resident birds and wild animals.
“The villagers used to migrate to far off places and earn Rs 2000-Rs 3000 a month working as labourers. Now as stakeholders of the project, they earn Rs 25,000 per family a month. The number goes down to Rs 12,000 during the off season. The summer and monsoon seasons see an occupancy rate of 40 per cent and 70 per cent respectively, while winter months are always full,” the DFO said.
The people of the six villages in the area have turned conservationists and have established a record by ensuring zero forest fires and poaching. Of the stakeholders, 60 per cent are women.
The project directly employs 25 villagers, and five to six villages are indirectly benefiting from it, she added.
The canopy walk will be offered as part of a package to those planning to stay for the night at the Satkosia Sands Resort, a community-managed nature tourism destination at the South Badmul Nature Camp.
Here tourists can cycle through the forest, trek with the help of a guide, go bird watching or boating or enjoy cultural programmes at the Sands Resorts every evening.