National park network expands

June 7, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 7 June 2011 – Thailand will add more national parks and protected forest areas covering more than 8 million rai of land, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation reported Monday.

It confirmed 25 new national parks would be integrated into its network and another 37 national forest reserves would come under its control.

The department general director, Sunan Arunnopparat, said it was a national strategy recognises 25 new national parks, while 37 national forests would be appended to national parks nearby to improve protection measures.

Three of 25 national parks have still to be approved by the department’s committee. They are Lam Nam Kok in Chiang Rai, Mu Ko Ra-Ko Phra Thong in Phang Nga and Ao Manao-Khao Tanyong in Narathiwat province in the deep south.

There are 10 designated national parks ready to be incorporated. They are Namtok Jet Sao Noi covering in Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima; Na Yung –Nam Som in Udon Thani; Namtok Pha Charoen in Tak; Mae Ngao covering in Mae Hong Son, Tak and Chiang Mai; San Kala Khiri in Songkhla; Namtok Sipo in Narathiwat; Than Sadet-Koh Phangan in Suratthani; Aob Khan in Chiang Mai; Kaeng Jet Khwae in Phisanulok and Mae Tho in Chiang Mai.

Another seven gained Cabinet approval in principle and are now being checked by the department’s committee. The national parks are Khao Kho in Phetchabun; Khun Khan in Chiang Mai; Doi Phu Nang in Phayao; Tham Pha Thai in Lampang; Hat Khanom-Mu Ko Thale Tai in Suratthani and Nakhon Si Thammarat; Mae Ta khrai in Chiang Mai and Lamphun; and Chaloem Phrakiat Thai Prachan in Ratchaburi.

Five national parks passed the Council of State of Thailand consideration including Nantabuti in Nan; Doi Jong in Lampang and Lamphun; Doi Wiang Pha in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai; Khun Sathan in Nan and Tham Sa Tien in Nan and Phayao.

The country has 148 national parks in Thailand with 59 in the north, 25 in the central, east and west regions, 24 in the northeast and 40 in the south.

Last year, 10,482,283 travellers visited national parks, down 7.14% from 11,288,893 in 2009.

Khao Yai National Park, 180 km northeast of  Bangkok is the most popular park and the country’s oldest. The park is surrounded by resorts that have set up ecotourism programmes including day visits to the park.

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