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Friday, 7 July 2017

(The Star) Perak plans to develop largest geological park in the country

Plans are underway to develop Perak as one of the largest geological park destinations for tourists in the country.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said the state has already identified several areas around the Kinta Valley based on proposals received from the Minerals and Geoscience Department.

“We will forward our application to obtain recognition from the National Geoparks Committee.

“Once approved, we will discuss with experts, mostly lecturers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, to devise plans to see how we can develop these places in the best way,” he told reporters after chairing the State Executive Council meeting at the State Secretariat Building on Wednesday.

Zambry said there will not be any problem in the process as he believes the terms and conditions set by the committee are not too difficult and stringent for them to fulfil.

“After obtaining recognition at national level, we will then proceed to apply for the Global Geopark status from Unesco,” he said.

A geopark is a specially gazetted area that advances the protection and use of geological heritage in a sustainable way, and promotes the economic wellbeing of the people who live there.

Dr Zambry said the identified areas include caves, mountains and hills located in the Kinta Valley.

“We have unique caves, mountains and hills in the valley and if all these places are promoted and developed properly as new tourist destinations, we can attract more people to visit Perak.

“Some of these identified areas are well-known places like Gua Tempurung, Gunung Kanthan and Gunung Korbu, while some are lesser-known areas, but have equally interesting features and traces of heritage from ancient times.

“We would highlight all of them as part of our geopark development plans,” he said.

To further entice those with a taste for adventure, especially hiking and water rafting, Zambry said the state will also package these places and create several adventure trails for people to choose and explore.

“There are at least nine trails with about 30 places of interest that can be identified. From the main trail, visitors can travel to many other places and enjoy themselves.

“This means they would be able to stay around five to six days to explore more of what Perak has to offer,” he said, adding that these places do not necessarily include only mountains and hills.