People, Travel

Collective Will to Protect Damavand

Collective Will to Protect DamavandCollective Will to Protect Damavand

A special working group has been formed to protect Mount Damavand in Mazandaran Province, under the supervision of the National Ecotourism Committee, announced the deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Morteza Rahmani-Movahed recently.

Rahmani-Movahed also pointed to the dispatching of several expert groups to inspect the mountain’s pathological situation, ISNA reported.

Mount Damavand at 5,671 m height is the highest peak in Iran and the Middle East and was the first natural site in Iran to be placed on the Natural Heritage List (NHL). Despite the significance of the mountain, it has suffered adversely in recent times, and faces serious threats due to various factors.

With the intervention of a working group comprising the ICHHTO’s provincial office, NGOs and mountaineering groups, measures have been taken to protect Damavand as a natural asset and provide for the growth of sustainable tourism in the area.

The working group will define the stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities and will educate them on ways to protect the mountain. Also, blocking the dirt and ancillary roads and using them only as an emergency route, as well as planning for sustainable development of the area with participation of all stakeholders, are the solutions considered by the working group.

Tapping the potentials of eco-lodges to address the needs of foreign tourists and organizing the lodgings in Rineh- the nearest city to Damavand- are plans on the agenda, the official said. “So also pursuing the case of shutting down the mineral shell mine neighboring the mountain, and providing sustainable livelihoods for the local communities.”

Rahmani-Movahed said the national committee of ecotourism as the main body coordinating ecotourism activities will pursue the procedures of protecting the mountain.

Mount Damavand hosted 5,000 tourists and mountain climbers during the summer, 900 of whom were foreigners.