Today our group went to Phnom Kulen National Park to assess the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of a community-based ecotourism program called Kulen Nature Trails. The trip is about a four hour hike through the national forest that goes by many amazing sites, both biological and cultural. We were in search of the elusive Silver Languor for the early portions of the hike. We weren’t able to see any. What we did see were religious meditation spots for monks, shrines, boulder fields, enormous trees, terrifying spiders, a great mountaintop lookout, and we got to swim in a river cutting through the forest.
After returning to the soon-to-be information station, we interviewed a community tour guide, Ministry of the Environment Park Ranger, and the man responsible for implementing much of the program. From what we ascertained in the interview, we will be able to evaluate the program. At the end of the day we made our way down to the base of an 80+ foot waterfall, and swam in it as a group for nearly an hour. Seeing everybody explore and relax in the water and under the falls was a beautiful sight. The only thing that could have made this day any better was if we were able to see the bright orange Languor babies.