by Jenny Lovell
Bodhi, Laura, and I took a walk at Nai Tui, a small outdoor recreation area near Kuraburi. There is a small community group that works together to preserve the watershed and encourage conservation and appreciation of the area.
They took us on a hike up the streambed, where we saw freshwater crabs and shrimp. It was beautiful and cool in the shade of the trees. They told us that there is a natural water hole at the source of the spring water for the river, which is used by wildlife in the surrounding area.
Our guides showed us the freshwater shrimp and crabs, which the locals catch as a source of food and saleable goods. Searching through fallen leaves and under the edge of rocks, they could find a surprising number of these little guys.
We hope to coordinate overnight backpacking trips with this community group. In the next few weeks me and a couple of other interns will go on a pilot trip with the guides, staying overnight in the jungle near an ancient Buddhist temple on a nearby mountain.
There is also an improvement project that we hope to lend funding and volunteers to help complete. They have already built benches at the waterfall near the trail head, but now they want to complete a restroom and functional day trip area. One of the great things about working with community-based tourism is helping to support the locals in encouraging appreciation for these unknown nooks of ecological goodness.