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bridges projects in rational tourism development
Bridges promotes independent backpacking in remote mountain destinations as a basis for cultural and ecological preservation and as an alternative to more destructive avenues to economic opportunity.
bridges to rolwaling
An innovative program that combines research with volunteer development work in a remote community in north central Nepal, just west of the Everest region. Since 1999, our international and interdisciplinary teams have collaborated with the people of Rolwaling in designing and implementing plans compatible with local needs and opportunities. Our fourth expedition will run from February 17 through May 31, 2003.
For two months, March and April 2003, the Bridges team will be based in Beding (3650 m), an impoverished village of 64 households in Rolwaling valley. This valley presents an unusual combination of problems and opportunities linking biodiversity, cultural preservation, and tourism development. It is well-established that tea house trekking offers the most beneficial results both for the hosts and for most guests.
Relatively isolated and unimpacted both culturally and ecologically, Rolwaling has been prevented from realizing its potential as an ecotourism destination by a regulation requiring trekkers to acquire expensive trekking peak permits, which also entailed traveling with fully-equipped caravans. Recently the regulation has been modified.
For three years, Bridges-PRTD has been collaborating with the local people, gearing up for the inevitable rush of tourists, and conducting research that will serve as a baseline database by means of which to monitor development.
Among our many projects scheduled for the upcoming expedition is the installation of a small hydropower plant. We will also be starting new enterprises, including Summiters, a mountain climbing school for tourists. Prospective participants are invited to choose among our projects, or develop new proposals.
- Feb 17-22 Kathmandu (orientation);
- Feb 23-24 Rafting on Bhote Khosi;
- Feb 25-March 1 Hike to Beding;
- March 2-April 27 Research and volunteer work Rolwaling Valley; 10 lectures with assigned readings on topics ranging from "Plate tectonics and the Origin of the Himalayas" to "Tourism in Nepal: Prospects for the 21st Century";
- April 28-May 3 Return to Kathmandu; dinner at Yak and Yeti;
- May 4-5 Flight to Lukla, trek to Namche Bazaar;
- May 6-May 23 Trek to Everest Base camp, Kala Pattar, Gokyo; preparation for Namche Conference;
- May 24-May 26 Namche Conference: "People, Park, and Mountain Ecotourism"; and
- May 29-May 31 Culmination of Everest Jubilee Year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first ascent by Hillary and Norgay.
Bridges is open to persons aged 18 or over who have interests and skills compatible with our objectives. Although not an accredited educational institution, Bridges has helped students get university credit for their participation in this program.
As the program involves a great deal of trekking under relatively rigorous conditions, applicants should be either very fit or psychologically prepared to become fit quite suddenly.
No specific requirements: Nepali, Sherpa, and Tibetan are all useful, but we will have translators. Our team is international and our staff is fluent or at least competent in English, Catalan, Spanish, and French.
skills + interests
For currently scheduled projects, the following backgrounds would be most useful:
- animal husbandry;
- business management;
- civil engineering;
- English as a second language;
- ecology, zoology, botany, cryptozoology;
- heritage interpretation;
- museum curatorship;
- outdoor equipment;
- design, manufacture;
- social work;
- sustainable development;
- Tibetan Buddhist art (thangka);
- tourism services; and
- waste management.
Note: In order to keep costs to a minimum and also to allow for frequent updates, Bridges does not publish a hardcopy prospectus or catalog. Application forms can be submitted by email from the linked pages, or printed and sent by regular mail. Be sure to check the update page for program modifications and additional infomation.
For further details, contact:
Dr. Seth Sicroff
219 W. Spencer St.
T (607) 256-0102
F (708) 575-7720
Tollfree telephone from within 48 contiguous states 1-800-839-3023
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