Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Disabled want access to forest, too

Make the city’s green lungs accessible to the disabled. This was the message sent out by the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Mobility Association (Mobiliti) during a gathering at the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park recently.

Mobiliti president Anthony Arokia has suggested that Friends of Kota Damansara Community Forest Park provide wheelchair-accessible tracks as well as handicapped-friendly toilets and shelters at the forest park.

The wheelchair-bound, led by Arokia (front), on their way to Kota Damansara Community Forest’s lake to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the area. Walking on the right is Phang.

“Such facilities will enable the disabled and wheelchair-bound senior citizens to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature along with their family members.

“We, like the able-bodied, would like to go fishing or kayaking on the lake, but accessibility is a concern,” said Arokia, during the Back to Nature programme at the forest on Sunday.

About 150 Kota Damansara residents and nature lovers gathered at the forest to carry out various activities.

Some groups, including families and students, went on nature walks into the forest while others stayed back to clean up the lake and areas surrounding the forest.

The event organised by Friends of Kota Damansara Community Forest Park was supported by the Petaling Jaya City Council's (MBPJ) economy committee under Local Agenda 21.

A group of nature lovers entering the forest park for some jungle trekking.

Event organiser Jeffrey Phang said Friends of Kota Damansara Community Forest Park conservation project was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through a small grant.

He said the grant was given to the stakeholders in the area and was coordinated by the Malaysian Nature Society for the preservation of the community forest by bringing the community closer.

“We are listening to all community groups, main and marginal, on their wants towards the conservation of the forest,” said Phang.

He said more nature-based activities would be held at the forest park.

“We are will be inviting uniformed groups like the Girl Guides, residents and more nature lovers to promote good neighbourliness through our monthly activities.

“The activities will be aimed at promoting the spirit of volunteerism among the young and old,” said Phang.

Strategically located in Section 10, Kota Damansara, the forest park can be accessed via the North-South Expressway (opposite the Jalan Duta exit).

The forest was earlier part of the Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve, which was gazetted in 1898.

The area was de-gazetted in the early 1990s for housing development, leaving a small pocket of green lung that included the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park.

Despite having been logged numerous times in the past, MNS has confirmed that the area is still rich with tree and plant species.

It is also considered the oldest forest reserve in Peninsular Malaysia.

Currently, the land belongs to the Selangor Government.

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