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Conservation and the Kanchenjunga National Park

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Established in 1996 with the help of the Sikkim Biodiversity and Ecotourism Project, the Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC), a community-based NGO based in Yoksum, aims to promote ecological awareness to locals and visitors alike. The KCC’s main concern is the impact of tourism on the fabric of the Kanchenjunga National Park, and their methods include planting trees, mobilizing local participation in the planning of ecotourism and organizing clean-up campaigns. Conservation has also been embraced by the Sikkim government, which has put in place a code of conduct, banning the use of wood for fuel in preference to kerosene; however, wood fires continue to be part and parcel of the Sikkim landscape. KCC initiatives include keeping trails clean, publishing leaflets to promote eco-awareness, training local workers including porters and guides in the ecotourism industry, and organizing self-help initiatives. For more information on the KCC, contact their coordinator Pema Chewang Bhutia at Visitors Information Centre, Gompa Road, Yoksum (t03595/241 211 or t9832 452527, whttp://www.sikkimkcc.netfirms.com/kcc/). There is a Biodiversity Centre here and they also provide low-altitude guides for Rs300 a day.

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