Seychelles National Parks Authority creating official list of island hiking trails
Morne Blanc trail one of the nine trails managed by the SNPA. (Nature trail in Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An assessment of a tentative list of 15 hiking trails that will fall under the management of the Seychelles National Park Authority (SNPA is underway, said a top official on Wednesday.
Selby Remy, the chief executive of the authority, said that an assessment needs to be done first in order to know the feasibility and the real cost of maintenance.
“We have told the Cabinet that we will start with this tentative list of trails and conduct an assessment of all those trails and then, depending on the decisions, these will be endorsed as the official list of trails,” said Remy.
He added that there is actually no official list of trails available and hence everyone, including those in the tourism industry, has their own idea of what is a trail.
“If we cannot establish a list of trails that need to be managed we will have a real problem since some of what certain people consider as trails are just old footpaths but people are using them and they are slowly gaining the status of trails,” Remy said.
The authority currently manages nine trails -- Trois Frères, Copolia, Anse Major, Mare aux Cochons, Dan Gala, Morne Blanc, Salazie, Casse Dent and Glacis Noire on Praslin -- and oversees several others. It costs the authority $221,000 (SCR3 million) to manage these trails.
“Nature trails bring a lot of economic value for the country. A lot of private businesses are getting revenue through nature trails by bringing tourists to these places. Hence, the more nature trails that are identified to be maintained, the more enticing it will be for holidaymakers,” said Remy.
The islands of Seychelles in the western Indian Ocean are well-known for their tropical beauty. While many visitors prefer to enjoy the sun and white sandy beaches, the more adventurous enjoy discovering the environment and wilder side of the islands which they can experience on the nature trails.
The decision came after the Cabinet of Ministers endorsed recommendations by the Parks Authority to improve the management of nature trails around the islands.
The deputy Cabinet Secretary for Policy Affairs, Margaret Pillay, said that for this to “happen there needs to be an amendment in the authority’s law to give them that responsibility.”
Pillay said that the Cabinet of Ministers has also agreed on how the management of the new trails will take place.
“The authority will also be in a position to contract out an individual or organisation that is interested to maintain these trails,” said Pillay.