June 21, 2024 The voice of all eras.

Heads-Up, Adventurers! Mt. Apo Temporarily Closed Until August 31

June 10, 2024

June 10, 2024

The ‘Grandfather of Philippine Mountains’ Mt. Apo will be closed for three months for ecosystem and wildlife recovery.

More Filipinos are joining hiking activities. They aim to conquer the toughest trails and peaks. The mountains offer a test of limits and also provide a refuge in nature. Who can resist this perfect destination?

If you’re planning a major climb to the country’s highest mountain, you might want to hold off for now. The Davao del Sur Tourism Development and Culture Promotions office recently announced a temporary prohibition on any outdoor activities in Mt. Apo for its annual rehabilitation.

Mt. Apo Natural Park Closed for Rehabilitation

From June 1 to August 31, Mt. Apo Natural Park, spanning almost 66,000 hectares, will be off-limits to the public. Home to the critically endangered Philippine eagle, Mt. Apo undergoes this annual three-month closure following the 2021 en banc resolution of the MANP-Protected Area Management Board.

Environmental Concerns and Threats

Reports and observed potential threats to the park’s wellbeing, such as improper sanitation, waste disposal along trails and campsites, and vandalism on rocks and boulders, have necessitated this measure. The closure, affecting all three trails to MANP from Cotabato and access routes in Digos City and the towns of Bansalan and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, aims to “give time for the sacred mountain to recuperate and allow wildlife to roam their natural habitats without anthropogenic intervention.”

The closure also supports the goal of having Mt. Apo declared a UNESCO Global Geopark. This recognition would highlight the park’s unique geological features, biodiversity, and cultural heritage. The temporary closure addresses immediate environmental concerns and contributes to the long-term sustainability of Mt. Apo. It would also attract international attention and support for its conservation as a natural treasure.

Previous Temporary Closure Due to El Niño

Mt. Apo National Park was previously closed due to the El Niño phenomenon. The dry spell increased the risk of wildfires, prompting a precautionary measure. A fire incident in Magpet, North Cotabato, occurred in March at the foot of Mt. Apo. Nearby areas, such as Arakan, were also affected by grass fires, highlighting the vulnerability of the region during dry conditions.

As the rainy season begins, the temporary closure from June 1 to August 31 is crucial for the park’s preservation and recovery. The increased rainfall will help replenish water sources, support vegetation regrowth, and reduce the risk of future fires. This period of closure will allow the park’s ecosystems to rejuvenate and wildlife to thrive without human interference. The effort aims to balance conservation with sustainable tourism, ensuring that future visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and biodiversity of Mt. Apo while preserving its ecological integrity.

Cover image credit: @phtourismamericas

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