Sagarmath National Park
Pema lives in a uniquely beautiful, pristine mountain setting, which has been protected under Nepal's natural park status since 1976. It is a natural wildlife preserve and a region of closely regulated natural conservation. Pema remembers the time before the government founded the national park in his homeland, the Solukhumbu in northeastern Nepal. In his home village of Khumjung, just above the tree line at 13,000 feet, he would descend to the lowlands to gather firewood, and on occasion he would see some of the region's rare musk deer and snow leopards, but common goats roamed the trails. The National Parks Department made a policy that there should be no goats in the preserve since they tended to eat and disrupt the crops and protected plant life. The government offered a subsidy to all the villagers to turn in their goats. Pema as a youngster was sad to let his goats go since they were like pets and they had names. The change was a little upsetting, but along with the forest nursery to replenish trees to the barren areas the landscape soon recovered from the effects of deforestation.
The Parks Department has emphasized conservation, and now it is very important
to control any trash. There are regulations in place to ensure that expeditions
bring their rubbish back down with them. There are also limits on the amount
of firewood that the villagers can collect. They're allowed fifteen days during
the Winter season and another 15 days during the Spring season to cut down
and gather the wood. The drawback for many poorer families is that they can't
get enough wood, and they can't afford to use that much kerosene. The goats
were also integral to the poorer families, so the community has had to make
a lot of adjustments. These measures came into effect just in time to stop
further damage to the precious natural resources and to ensure that the villagers
and visiting enthusiasts can always enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the land.