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Nanda Devi Conservation History

When we trace the Conservation History of Nanda Devi National Park, we must first mention that this region was largely inaccessible and relatively little known until the year 1934. Several attempts were made to gain entry into the Nanda Devi National Park but with no satisfactory result. The first attempt dates back to the year 1883 and it was made by W.W. Garden. He failed to create any major impact.

The problem was finally solved by Eric Shipton and Bill Tillman when they managed to find a route to the sanctuary in a characteristically light weight expedition. They made their way through the difficult Rishi Gorge. The Nanda Devi National Park is surrounded by mountains on three sides except the west where this gorge is located.

In the year 1974, the Chipko Movement was organized to protest against the indiscriminate cutting of trees. This was really an epoch making event in the Conservation History of Nanda Devi National Park. Gauri Devi spear headed this movement in which village women participated whole heartedly to defend their forests.

In the same year Nanda Devi National Park was opened for mountainous expeditions to reach the Nanda Devi peak. Since 1977 reports started pouring in of the damage being caused by these travelers and mountaineers. It might amaze us but nearly 10000 tons of rubbish left behind by the mountaineers was removed by an army led team. This became a primary concern for all environmentalists.

Finally in the year 1982 the Government of India incorporated the Nanda Devi National Park within the list of National Parks in India. Grazing, Trekking and expeditions are also banned.

"Man and Biosphere" Programme is launched in the year 1988. Because of the amazing variety of Flora and Fauna, the Nanda Devi National Park was later declared as a biosphere reserve.

The greatest moment of glory in the Nanda Devi Conservation History came when it was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in the year 1992.

In 2004, the 30th anniversary of the Chipko Movement was celebrated. It is rather encouraging that the Nanda Devi campaign received the runner up Conde Nast Ecotourism Award. Nanda Devi National Park has the potential to be a Pillar of Eco Tourism in India.