Annapurna Conservation Area Project
The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) was launched in 1986 under the sponsorship of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. Covering an area of 7,629 square kilometers, this innovative protected area management system combines environmental protection with sustainable community development. Each year the Annapurna region welcomes more than 25,000 trekkers from all over the world to enjoy some of the most beautiful, and challenging, terrain in Nepal.
Divided into seven unit conservation offices and spread out in five districts of the Western Development Region of Nepal, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project covers 55 Village Development Committees. Each of these Village Development Committees is responsible for the management, utilization and protection of the natural resources that fall within its assigned area. This arrangement ensures that the vast area under the Annapurna Conservation Area Project meets with the conservation and sustainable development goals agreed upon.
Conservation of resources in the Annapurna region is being achieved by means of forest and wildlife management activities; soil and water conservation; training for local forest guards, nursery workers and leaders; promotion of fuel-efficient technologies and alternative energy sources; restoration of sites of historical, cultural and archaeological significance; research on subjects such as biodiversity and wildlife census; and formation of local conservation area management committees.
Tourism management initiatives include programs for the formation of local lodge management committees, including training for lodge operators; tourism marketing and visitor centers; search and rescue facilities; training for trekking guides; and eco-campsite development. Conservation education includes programs in schools to raise conservation awareness; a natural history museum and environmental resource library; indoor and outdoor conservation education centers; village clean-up campaigns; and study tours and training for villagers.
The community development aspect of Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area Project includes programs for the improvement, maintenance and construction of schools, trails and bridges; adult literacy; extension of agro-forestry and agriculture through training and seed distribution; general health and family planning clinics; and programs for improving employment opportunities.
In working toward the goal of protecting the natural and cultural heritage of Annapurna, along with education to sustain the economic and social benefits of eco-tourism, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project is ensuring that visitors to this exquisite part of Nepal will always be assured of enjoying nature at its very best.