I have decided to jot down my thought on possible future solutions .
Over crowding on forts.
The fort routes and trekking routes are getting over loaded. The number of trekkers who want to experience the outdoors has grown 100% in the past 10 years.
The solution needs the help of
a) The Maharashtra government
b) Local Sarpanch and leaders
c) Trekking group contribution
What is needed
Entry pass app Entry pass to all forts . Entry pass can be got online via desktop or mobile. groups can book online in advance. This will help manage load factors and allow other groups to plan the same or go for different destinations.
Fort information booth at every base village with local villagers trained in giving demonstrations on safety and dos and dont’s around the village and fort .
Entry Points to each fort .And local villagers managing the entry points to these forts. Though I dont like this solution remembering the free wandering days 10-20 years ago. Now it is the only solutions. So how this will work. First experts need to calculate the holding capacity of each for per hour. There needs to the digital login and log out(maybe infrared or bar code scanner ).This can be a simple mobile app which is zero cost. Which logs the entry and exit of each trekkers. This will allow experts to manage the load on each fort and when to increase /decrease or stop the flow of trekkers.
Mapping of all guides,first aid, food , rest rooms,hospitals around each fort on gps and on apps.
Guide Booking app. this will help know which guides are available .
Rescue Team app. Mapping on rescue team members. Allowing finding the closest available rescue team.each rescue team will have pocket gps so that the central rescue center can map where each team is at all time . To speed up coordination
Mapping ,bolting and installing ladders . For eg Peb ,harihar and several others
Mapping each trekker . each trekker picks up a pocket gps from the entry point and returns it on exit. There is a refundable safety deposit made online.This is refunded automatically when the trekker deposits back the pocket gps.This allows fort planners to track trekkers routes and plan for possible future safety features or alert rescue faster.
NOTE These solutions will NOT be possible in a few years . As soon as mobile phones and cheap internet reach all villages. Some villagers in the past 2 years has got the taste of money and power by organising treks and no politician will be able to implement good policy . Money has been good (villagers donate to their schoos) it has been bad (villagers have increased alcohol consumption). Storied of villagers buying Sumo in cash.
Kaustubh Upadhye take on Trekking in Maharashtra.
last week 2 accidents happened in Devkund & Peb fort . I strongly feel there is always equal mistake of trekking organisations and participants in any mishap . Trekking trend is increasing day by day and organisations and customers should understand responsible tourism.
Few suggestions for organisations and customers ..
# If you respect nature and history then only go for Trek in Maharashtra .
For trekking clubs , organisations, travel operators …
1 Keep cap on number of participants
2 maintain ratio atleast 10:1 amongst participants & leaders
3 carry rescue equipment’s like harness, ropes etc .
4 carry at least 2 well equipped first aid boxes .
5- trained leaders with basic first aid and wilderness management
6 choose location wisely to avoid crowd
7 ask you leader to wear bright and different colours of clothing so participants can ask and identify him or her immediately
8 take emergency contact of every participants along with thier own mobile numbers
9 carry GPS , foldable stretcher, walk talky for easiest trek
10 always try to get at least 2 locals along with your group for head and tale .
11 if you taking private transport try to work with register vendors
12 manage decent numbers in 6 seater and jeeps to avoid chaos .
13 Do not litter place and carry enough trash bags
14 ban speakers , jewellery , musical instruments during trek .
15 maintain log for your own equipment and if you renting ask for log from company .
16 carry certificates of your leaders or skippers
17 instruct or brief properly while booking and during trek
18 try to keep eqal distance amongst leaders
19 always keep back up vehicle and back up leader if someone wants to backout from trek .
20 keep nearest hospital and police station , rescue teams phone numbers handy and make multiple sets .
21 try to cover insurance for adventure sports . airlift facilities are available if you pay extra premium.
22 most important be transparent and honest with your customers don’t do false commitments
1 if you ask all above questions and satisfied with answers then go ahead and book .
2 take good time to book trek with right people to right locations .
3 Tell farankly your past experience of trekking
4 try to give honest feedback after trek
5 Don’t be price sensitive . nothing come in this world free . respect cost , value , goodwill and safety of your life .
Hope this is loud and clear .
Happy monsoon & Happy trekking
suggestions by Ameya Gokhale
However, I would take the route of thinking some possible solutions to avoid this.
One thing that will certainly help in avoiding the possibility of mountain accidents is to create awareness at the right age (I am stressing on the age factor here). What I mean is – most people do not get a chance to be mountain aware, until they are beyond their formal learning age. People (beyond this age bracket) get introduced to hikes in an attempt to break their routine or just to try something new. In my opinion, this category is the most susceptible for any mountain dangers. After a certain age, the hiking activity may be looked upon as a “commodity” than as a participant – which means people have already formed their expectations (unlike school kids) and they want to have their worth of money – thinking that service providers will take care of everything and we will only have fun.
On the contrary, had they been exposed to mountains or knew the rights or wrongs as school children, they would be more receptive, disciplined and happy hikers. IMP Note: Ofcourse, I know a lot of people who started hiking after being parents and are amongst my mentors. But I am talking of those who missed getting the maturity and awareness lessons. After all organizers are just a little more matured participants.
Schools will have a major role to play. Getting school kids outdoor, making them know the benefits and the potential dangers is what I believe will make the best case. In fact, Outdoor education, outdoor and mountain awareness, Environment and safety is something that schools will need to imbibe on its students. Especially the whole idea that urban expectations in an outdoor setting cannot be the same as indoor is critical to safety. At the same time, schools will also have to be aware of whom they are aligning with for these activities (outdoor education vendors and their safety protocols)
Rohan R. Rao 15-30 thik aahe? This is relative. I have been to some places/protected areas .. where the maximum number of people allowed were 8 per day. I was 8th .. but we were two of us. So we were not issued the permit! More sensitive locations with fragile ecology should be more restricted than some others. Bhimashankar vs Shivneri? Or Chandoli vs Sindhudurga? And similar comparisons. 15-30 per group is a huge number. For exmaple, say no more than 50 people per fort per day on weekends. Groups will get no more than 20% of total quota and so on! But, that’s something the experts need to decide.