‘Bushtown ecolodge to provide steady source of income’

‘Bushtown ecolodge to provide steady source of income’

By Cherno Omar Bobb

Njagga Touray, deputy executive director for the National Environment Agency (NEA) who doubles as the focal point for the Global Environment Facility (GEF 6) Project has said that the ecolodge in Bushtown village in Sami District, Central River Region will provide a steady source of income for the community upon its completion.

The GEF6 Project is currenly constructing an ecolodge for Bushtown village as compensation for conserving its forest.

The objective of the GEF 6 Project is to enhance biodiversity conservation which can be achieved through ecosystem restoration, expansion of protected forest areas, among others.

Mr Touray made the remarks on Monday at Bushtown village as the minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR) embarks on her quarterly trek to visit various project intervention sites under her ministry.

The primary objective of the trip is to gain first-hand insight into the ongoing projects and initiatives undertaken by the ministry to address issues across the regions.

Mr Touray explained that during the initial phase of the project they conducted an assessment of different areas countrywide and found out that Bushtown has one of the best forests in the country.

“They are not involved in any charcoal production, firewood harvesting in large scale and inside their forest is marvelous with different animal and bird species,” he added, noting that conservation is only possible when one sees benefits.

For this reason, he said as a sign of compensation for the community conserving its forest, they decided to build them an ecolodge.

According to him, the ecolodge will serve as a revenue generation for the community.

“Those visiting the forest will pay a certain amont of money to enter in the forest as well as pay to spend the night at the ecolodge,” he further said, adding that whatever revenue generated will stay in the community.

He added that they will also construct a bridge for the water body that devides the forest from the community to enabe visitors and the community to easily cross from one end to the other.

He also said that there will also be walk trails inside the forest as well as a watch tower.

“When the project is completed, the community will have a steady source of revenue for themselves. It will also reduce the pressure on the forest,” he said.

Ousman Bah, governor for Central River Region urged the community to take ownership of the project and protect it with their lives. He also told them that if they make best use of the project, they will get unlimited benefits from it.

Governor Bah further told the community that if they protect their forest, it will attract tourists for them and ensure generations benefit from it. He also advised them to listen to and adhere to good advise from experts as well as consult them whenever the need arises.

Honourable Rohey John Manjang, minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR) commended the community for protecting their environment.

She pointed that the effects of climate change is a result of cutting down trees without replacing them, among other factors and therefore further thanked the community for respecting environment laws and protecting their environment.

“Your hard work, dedication and commitment to protecting your environment is what resulting to this project. Therefore, continue in that direction to ensure greater things in the future,” she further advised them.

She also urged the community to ensure regular maintenance of the facility to ensure its sustainability. She thanked the GEF6 project team for positively utilising the project funds.  

COB/17/05/24

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