Repairs to Khao Panern Thung Road Provoke Environmental Concerns

Repairs to Khao Panern Thung Road Provoke Environmental Concerns
Repairs to Khao Panern Thung Road Provoke Environmental Concerns

Tourists will no longer be able to travel to Khoa Panern Thung, a popular mountain-top tourist attraction for more than a year as a section of the only dirt road leading to the mountain top in Phetchaburi province is closed for major repairs.

The Kaeng Krachan national park has decided to close a section of the earthen road from kilometre marker 15 to 36 kilometre marker from Ban Krang camp site to Khao Panern Thung for over a year. However, the Ban Krang camp remains open to tourists. Besides the misty sea which is a “must see” for most tourists to the mountain top, tourists see horn bill, an endangered bird species, if they are lucky.

Major repairs of the dirt road to Khao Panern Thung has been opposed by environmental groups fearing that the improved road condition will encourage more tourists to the area and this may endanger wild animals there from speeding vehicles. Fifteen 15 environment groups have sent a letter to the minister of natural resources and environment voicing their opposition to major repairs of the only earthen road to Khao Panern Thung, claiming that the improved road put the safety of rare wildlife species such as tiger and mountain goat at risk of getting killed in road accidents.

The groups claimed that as many as 3,000 wild animals were killed each year by cars after a road was cut right through the Ang Runai wildlife sanctuary in Rayong province. However, the Kaeng Krachan national park in the central province of Phetchaburi has defended the road maintenance, arguing that the earthen road has been in use for about 30 years without major repairs and it is in poor condition with potholes, land subsidence and mudslides. The park was allocated with 88 million THB funding to pave the 15 kilometre road section surface with asphalt which will facilitate road patrolling by park rangers. The width of the road will not be expanded. It remains a one-way traffic road with separate time schedules for cars to travel up to and down from the mountain.