On September 23, 2022, public hearings were held in Basshi village of Zhetysuskaya oblast on the installation of a visitor center in the Altyn-Emel National Park and the results of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The consortium of legal entities as part of QazaqGeography Republican Public Association initiated the public hearings.
The installation of a visitor center with an area of 552.6 square meters is planned on the territory of the Post No.1 cordon, 64 kilometers from Konayev city. The visitor center will be a modern building with architecture and color scheme harmoniously fitting into the surrounding landscape. Here tourists will be able to get information about routes, instructions on behavior in the wild, relax, rent equipment, buy souvenirs of local production, and also visit a food outlet.
During the construction of the center, it is assumed to use mostly environmentally friendly materials.
As part of the public hearings, the results of the EIA work on the territory of the Altyn-Emel State National Natural Park were presented to the population. The survey of all the sites proposed for use was carried out by experts of the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK), including a zoologist, botanist, environmental engineer, ecotourism specialist.
Sergey Sklyarenko, Director of Biological Science of the ACBK, Candidate of Biological Sciences, made a report on the environmental impact associated with the installation of the visitor center.
“The construction site was chosen by the administration of the National Park already taking into account the minimal impact on the environment. When conducting research, the visitor center was assigned the 4th hazard category; the environmental impact is minimal, since rare animals do not live near the site of the planned construction and rare plant species do not grow. All wastewater will be collected in containers and exported to the treatment facilities of the nearest settlements,” Sergei Sklyarenko said.
At the same time, the expert noted the positive impact of the project on the social economic environment. The installation of the visitor center opens up opportunities for organizing new jobs for the population, involving local businesses, attracting additional investments, increasing budget deductions, etc.
The organizers of hearings noted that the visitor center will also become a place of cultural and educational events.
“This is a space for exploring the nature and history of the park, for eco-education and popularization of environmental care. We will constantly hold educational events aimed at improving the culture of outdoor recreation, fostering a careful attitude towards it, and plan to invite interesting lecturers, hold thematic conferences, seminars, talk about problems such as garbage and vandalism,” Tomiris Mussayeva, a representative of QazaqGeography RSA, said.
The construction of the visitor center will take about 3 months, its opening is scheduled for the end of 2022. Employees will be recruited from among the local population”, QazaqGeography RSA emphasized.
Representatives of local executive bodies, residents of Basshi village, as well as public figures took part in hearings.
It should be noted that QazaqGeography RSA has been implementing a project for the development of ecological tourism and infrastructure in the Altyn-Emel and Charyn national parks since 2021. During this time, a lot of work has been done in the parks, including gazebos, shade canopies, drinking fountains, observation decks, navigation and eco-toilets operating on an anhydrous basis.
QazaqGeography is a voluntary geographical community of citizens united by a common desire to explore the rich nature and distinctive culture of Kazakhstan, preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the country and pass on their knowledge to future generations QazaqGeography was founded in 2013 as a national geographical society and today unites more than 1,000 members and has 11 regional offices around the world Kazakhstan.