Khanom Beach proposed as national park after 34 years

Image courtesy of KhaoSod

Efforts are underway to designate Khanom Beach and the Southern Islands in Nakhon Si Thammarat as a national park, a process that has been in preparation for 34 years. The area has significantly reduced due to overlapping claims, necessitating urgent action.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation tasked Adisak Phusitwongsa, Director of the Public Relations Department, to lead media representatives on a tour of the prospective Khanom Beach National Park. This initiative aims to showcase the management and conservation efforts within the area to bolster its status as a national park.

The head of the park, Wimolmas Nuipakdi stated that the proposed Khanom Beach-Southern Islands National Park initially covered 197,614 rai when the designation process began in 1990. However, after excluding overlapping claims with various agencies and local community lands, the proposed park area now stands at 108,570 rai.

This includes 51,390 rai of land and 57,180 rai of marine territory. Over 34 years, the area has decreased by 71,797 rai due to these overlapping claims.

The establishment of Khanom Beach-Southern Islands National Park aims to conserve, protect, and sustainably utilise the area, ensuring that valuable natural resources are preserved for future generations. Currently, efforts are focused on engaging and gathering feedback from stakeholders, including local communities and the general public.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s 2021 announcement on public participation and stakeholder engagement in defining, expanding, and revoking national parks, arboretums, and botanical gardens, feedback must be gathered from all 49 villages in the area. This process is expected to be completed within two years, between 2024 and 2025.

Must stand firm

Wimolmas said he was undeterred in a mission to declare this area as a national park.

“The local population in Khanom is ageing, with very low birth rates. There is a high likelihood that land will be sold to outsiders if we do not act quickly. If we delay, valuable conservation areas will continue to disappear. We must stand firm in our commitment to establishing this national park.”

The proposed Khanom Beach National Park, in preparation for designation since 1990, comprises both land and marine areas. The land territory includes critical forest patches that are essential for the ecosystem, serving as vital watersheds for Khanom, Sichon in Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Don Sak in Surat Thani.

These forests are home to significant wildlife species, including serows, hog deer, spectacled langurs, and over 153 other species.

The marine territory is a crucial habitat for pink dolphins, green turtles, and other important marine resources of the Gulf of Thailand. Notable islands in the proposed park include Tha Rai Island, Nui Island, Wang Nok Island, Ko Mat Kong, and Ko Mat Tang.

The area also boasts beautiful tourist spots such as the Plaichumron Viewpoint, Thong Ching Beach, Klang Thong Waterfall, and the unique geological formation known as Pancake Rock. This site features layers of overlapping rock sheets that resemble folded fabric, hence its name Hin Pabpa or Pancake Rock of Thailand.

Additionally, Nui Island houses a revered site dedicated to Luang Pu Thuat, a monk associated with the legend of turning seawater into freshwater. This island features a freshwater spring, a site of pilgrimage and local folklore.

Sustainable tourism

Khanom Beach-Southern Islands National Park is also a renowned destination for pink dolphin watching, managed by local communities. This initiative highlights the area’s ecological significance and promotes sustainable tourism, contributing to local conservation efforts and economic development.

The establishment of this national park is a critical step in ensuring the long-term preservation and sustainable use of the region’s natural resources, benefiting both the environment and the local communities, reported KhaoSod.

Thailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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