I am a frequent traveller to Cameron Highlands and I must say that the over development of the highlands have left true nature lovers with nothing much to look forward to and experience apart from the cool temperatures at night.
Cameron Highlands is touted as an ideal place for trekkers in the ‘Lonely Planet'.
Many foreigners come all the way to traverse the trails and leave in a day or two as there are no more trails worthy of this other than trail no 1 to the Mossy Forest of G Brinchang.
There were more than 14 jungle trails that used to emanate from the main towns of Tanah Rata and Brinchang with the trails clearly marked.
However many have become fragmented or completely destroyed for development. A great loss as these trails which were once adorned with pitcher plants and orchids, are now just trodden paths with ill maintained bridges and pathways.
The infamous development of Royal Lily destroyed trail no 13 and now Jasar Valley is being desecrated. Forest reserve has been parcelled out and de-gazetted.
Massive land cleared for development just adjacent to Sg Ruil Orang Asli settlement.
With such great natural treasures one would wonder why the planners did not get the developers to maintain a natural buffer incorporating these trails into their development.
So what is left of the natural trails.
The two trails I wish to highlight are directly maintained (or lack thereof by the Jabatan Perhutanan) the trails in Sg Pauh Forest Reserve and the trails in Mossy Forest at G Brinchang.
I am sure that the government has spent a lot on the improvement works of the facilities but yet again the structures are up but long term maintenance is often not in the equation.
The Parit Falls recreation area is a nice area accessible to tourist from Tanah Rata.
it makes for a nice picnic spot if you don't mind the stench from the river that lives up to its name, Parit Falls.
The toilets are badly maintained with no water and broken doors. The other eyesore is the abandoned CHOGM building.
A partnership between FRIM and Jabatan Perhutanan, it's now an abandoned project. If I'm not mistaken, it was only used for a launching ceremony and then left to waste.
The latest on the list of facilities built by this same government authority is the Mossy Forest at G Brinchang.
It took about three years to complete and has just been open about a month ago. Already vandalism has taken its toll.
The decorative pitcher plant made of stone outside the entrance has been chipped off.
The thermometers placed along the trail have been pried off.
Rubbish is stuck in the tree branches, etc. Once again where is the maintenance?
A turnstile has been placed and I am sure if some authoritative figure is there to inform and educated the tourists about the rules and regulations of entering the boardwalk, then much of this of empathy towards public property could be inculcated in our Malaysian public.
That goes to another point; the Mossy forest of G Brinchang is listed as a site not to be missed.
Nowhere in the tourist brochures does it say that the roads up to the peak are narrow, steep and in some areas pot-holed so drive up at your own risk.
And that there are no toilets at the peak and mossy forest so what do you expect when every few metres you find people use the go behind the nearest bush concept. Who is to blame?
The authorities have failed to provide a simple basic facility for man to answer nature's call. When on an early morning walk along the boardwalk, two of my friends actually stepped in human excrement.
So pardon my pun when I say that the planning of tourist facilities without proper maintenance is a whole load of crap.
A simple mechanism of placing a staff from the Jabatan Perhutanan to oversee the facilities and even charging a minimum cost for the upkeep of the trails and toilets (please put a mobile one there quick) would go a long way in ensuring that the newly opened boardwalk will not see the same fate as most government projects - abandoned and inaccessible in a few months from opening.
Another project done by the ruling party, for the people, with the peoples' (tax payers' money) and then left abandoned for the people to lament, rant and rave.
Time to make change and ask for changes to be made.
Note: I travel to the highlands quite regularly and see and hear great injustice done.
I am at wits' end and hope the ‘Janji Ditepati' is for all Man and Nature.