Katsumi Miura, Japanese Volunteer specialising in Environmental Studies, who was attached to the Waitukubuli National Trail Management Unit for the past three months, has successfully ended his stint in Dominica.
During his assignment, Miura was involved in conducting research and documentation in the areas of Ecology and Geology.
Miura delivered a summary of his accomplishments stating that the island’s flora and fauna is exceptional and deserving of world class recognition.
He made suggestions for how the trail could be enhanced and marketed moving forward. He said that, [the trail has almost one hundred miles and accumulative ascent of nearly 40, 000, 000, exactly twice as much ascent as climbing Aconcagua, the highest peak in America]. He also noted that [Dominica is unique in having all of these features and deserves world class attention.]
The Japanese official said efforts must be made to preserve the National Trail and encouraged Dominicans to familiarise themselves with the trail.
Assistant Forest Officer of the Forestry Division, Ronald Charles welcomed the ideas from Miura. He said “the trail is still in its development stage, and the construction work has been completed but there’s still much more to do to make it viable.”
He says he looks forward to continuing the partnership with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the areas of typical assistance in exchange training in various fields such as Administration to tour guiding, education and a whole range of other areas.
“What we want now is to have a trail that is not only appealing to hikers but to everyone. The trail is designed and created for people from all walks of life to walk it.”
Meanwhile Operations Manager of the Waitukubuli National Trail Roselyn Paul is thankful for the partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency through its volunteer program.
Paul says the work done by the Japanese volunteer will be beneficial to the continued work of the trail’s Management Unit. She said that [a lot of Katsumi’s work was focused on research and documentation in the field of Ecology and Geology, which is very important for input into the work of the WNTPMU.]
Miura also provided the Trail’s Management Unit with valuable information which will assist in the continued promotion of the trail.
Paul said, “Miura has provided important information that will help to enhance our information maps, and the further improvement of the trail that will fit visitors profile and demands. Actually this perspective is from a visitor’s perspective. It is somebody who is not a Dominican who had this opportunity to look intimately at what it is we have and be able to apply that from a business perspective. So that is very important to us and so it gives us a base that we can make improvements to our trail information and to the very trail itself.”
The information provided by the Japanese volunteer will also be used to train tour guides about the trail.
The Waitukubuli National Trail is the Caribbean’s first long distance walking trail and covers 115 miles spanning the communities of Scott’s head in the South, to the Cabrits National Park in the North.
The trail takes hikers through National Parks, local communities, farm lands, forest reserves, coastal areas, and the acclaimed Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
The Waitukubuli National Trail is considered to be the only long distance walking trail in the entire Caribbean and allows hikers to encounter all the established Eco Tourism sites on the Island.