The Sentinel rock waterfalls and Kuruva islands, two popular eco-tourism destinations in the district under the South Wayanad Forest Division, were opened on Saturday after an interval of two years.
According to South Wayanad Forest Divisional Officer P. Ranjith Kumar, both the destinations witnessed huge crowds, but the number of visitors was restricted in accordance with the carrying capacity study conducted by the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore.
Accordingly, the number of visitors to the waterfalls and the island has been restricted to 1,200 and 1,150 respectively a day.
As many as 100 visitors will be allotted at a time to visit the destinations adhering to the COVID-19 protocol, and they can spend two hours in those destinations, Mr. Ranjith Kumar said.
The Sentinel rock waterfalls, also known as Soochipara waterfalls under the Meppadi forest range, Kuruva islets on the Kabani river under the Chethalayath forest range, Chembra peak under the Meppadi forest range, and the Meenmutty waterfalls at Padinharethara under the Kalpetta forest range had been closed as per a Kerala High Court directive.
The court had issued an interim stay on all ecotourism activities in the forest division on a petition filed by the Wayanad Prakriti Samrakshana Samiti, an environmental organisation. However the order was vacated by the court recently.
The Chembra peak, a major adventure tourism destination, will be opened after the forest fire season, and the Meenmutty waterfalls will be opened after maintenance work, Mr. Ranjith Kumar added. The opening of the destinations will give a fillip to the tourism industry in the district, industry sources said.