Borjomi-Karagauli Visitor Centre opening
Local students tackle bark beetle invasion
A rainforest in Western Georgia
CNF took part in the official ribbon cutting and re-opening of the newly refurbished visitor centre at Borjomi-Karagauli National Park. The centre, co-funded by CNF, Bank of Georgia and the Georgian Government was transformed in only four months, now houses four hotel rooms, a cafe, exhibition hall, tourist information centre and administrative building. The new centre promises to improve the overall guest experience at the park, which has seen visitor numbers rise from 3,700 in 2007 to over 14,500 so far this year.
The event also gave us an opportunity to meet local students from the Borjomi Public School, who were installing pheromone traps around the park. These traps are used to monitor and catch harmful insects, such as bark beetles. These beetles are an invasive species and are widespread in certain parts of the world. One of the worst outbreaks in British Colombia, Canada, resulted in the loss of 13 million hectares (33 million acres) of timber. Early control, such as the placing of traps, is essential in the protection of biodiversity and a good way to involve local communities in the management of the park.
Continuing on the theme of forests, CNF Executive Director David Morrison recently visited Mtirala National Park
in Western Georgia. Only 100 miles from Borjomi, Mtirala is home to one of the only sub-tropical rainforests in Europe. Established in 2006, the park sees annual rainfall of over 2000mm (79 inches) and 80-85% humidity, which supports the lush vegetation and numerous picturesque rivers and waterfalls. Visitor numbers to the parks have increased dramatically from 2,500 in 2009 to 18,500 so far this year. CNF hopes to support this park in the near future and help manage this demand.