Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s first Canopy Walk/Tree Walk was opened to public on January 10 at Satkosia Sands Resort, Badmul, in Nayagarh district.
What’s interesting is that the canopy walk structure has been designed and entirely built by villagers with assistance from forest officials. “No outside help was taken, except for browsing the internet for some ideas. This is the first canopy walkway in Odisha, and second in India,” informed Divisional Forest Officer of Mahanadi Wildlife Division Anshu Pragyan Das Anshu Pragyan Das.
Situated in Mahanadi Wildlife Division (Nayagarh) of Satkosia Tiger Reserve, the 120-metre-long walk connects two trees along the Mahanadi. Tourists can walk through the trees on the structure situated 25 feet above ground.
“This walk is an innovative way to explore the forest of Eastern Ghats in Satkosia,” she said.
Satkosia Sands Resort project started in 2016 with three tents and an investment of Rs 2 lakh. The Eco Development Committee subsequently earned Rs 4 lakh from it, she said.
The project has been a boon for villagers residing in the forest division, which is home to over 332 variety of migratory and resident birds and a variety of wild animals. “Villagers, mostly men, used to migrate to different places and earn Rs 2000-3000 per month as daily wagers. Now, as stakeholders of the project, they earn Rs 25,000 per family a month. The number goes down to Rs 12,000 during off-peak season. 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.
People of six villages there have turned conservationists and hold the record of zero forest fire and zero poaching. Among the stakeholders, 60 per cent are women.
The project has directly employed 25 villagers, while 5-6 entire villages are indirectly benefiting from it, she added.
The canopy walk will, however, be offered as part of a package to those planning night stay at Satkosia Sands Resort, a community-managed nature tourism destination at Badmul nature camp, where tourists can cycle in the forest, trek with a guide, go bird watching and boating or enjoy the cultural programme every evening soaking in the tranquillity of the forest.