Sunday, 25 March 2012

Luagan Lalak Forest Recreation Park opened to boost eco-tourism drive

Luagan Lalak Forest Recreation Park

AFTER almost two decades, the Luagan Lalak Forest Recreation Park was officially opened yesterday, in conjunction with the World Forestry Day celebrations.

The Luagan Lalak Forest Recreation Park started groundwork in 1993 and covers a total land area of about 275 hectares but only 10 hectares is developed and open for public visits.

When asked on the significant time period for the Luagan Lalak Forest Recreation Park's opening, Director of Forestry Department HjSaidin Salleh replied that the development of the park happened in stages.

"This applies to projects such as upgrading of huts, walkways, parking, signages, toilets and maintenance, painting, wooden and concrete structures," he told The Brunei Times in an email interview.

"It was deemed to be in tip-top condition this year which means it is ready for public use," he said, adding that there was an issue of budget constraints and limited funding, which contributed to the delay. "Further maintenance and upgrades will be continued such as additional parking spaces, box telephone, children's playground and toilets for the disabled," he said.

The Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato SeriSetia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar was present at the ceremony to launch the Lalak Forest Recreation Park.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya delivered a speech where he talked about how nature conservation and economic development can go hand in hand.

In his welcoming remarks, Hj Saidin Salleh elaborated on the significance of World Forestry Day, stating that the "special day" is celebrated worldwide "to raise awareness among the public about the importance of forests and its benefits".

"Our participation in commemorating this event together with the global community signifies our true commitment in ensuring that our forests and its biodiversity are protected and preserved for many years to come."

According to Hj Saidin, the establishment of the Luagan Lalak Forest Recreation Park is "in line with the social forestry obligation and commitment towards providing a venue for recreation within the natural environment throughout the country".

The Luagan Lalak Forest Recreation Park was developed for nature lovers who enjoy jungle trekking, picnicking, expeditions and also fishing, he said.

Also present at the event was MIPR Permanent Secretary Hjh Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Jawatan DalamSeri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Dr Hj Mohd Jamil Al Sufri, Deputy Permanent Secretaries Mohd Riza DatoPaduka Hj Mohd Yunos and Hjh Hasnah Ibrahim together with the diplomatic corps, head of departments,Belait Legislative council members, senior government officers, grassroots leaders and other officials.

The World Forestry Day was incepted in 1971 during the General Assembly of the European Confederation of Agriculture as a response over the rapid and extensive destruction of the forest. 

The Brunei Times
http://www.bt.com.bn/news-national/2012/03/22/park-opened-boost-eco-tourism-drive

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