11 July 2024

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation has bowed to pressure from green groups by agreeing to scrap a plan to pave the 21.9 kilometre route leading to Panern Thung mountain peak in Phetchaburi province with concrete.

Chongklai Worapongsathorn, the department deputy director-general, said Monday that the department would instead repair 26 points along the route which have been identified as dangerous or too steep and need to be fixed.

The decision to scrap the plan to pave the existing dirt and partially asphalted road with concrete came after three hours of joint discussion with conservation groups and representatives of tourism operators.

In the next step, Chongklai said he would call a meeting with the advisory committee on national parks, the chief of Kaeng Krachan national park and officials of the road contractor to discuss the road maintenance plan as well as the construction cost which needs to be revised down.

He indicated that the park might ban motorists from driving up the mountain peak and allow only trekking by foot.

Green groups oppose the plan to improve the road surface, claiming that it will threaten wildlife there, especially the rare species which might be run over by speeding cars.