The Mahagnao Mountain Trail will form the backbone of ecotourism development in La Paz. This grant will fund two field visits to the sites, and four workshops that will focus on job development skills related to ecotourism, marketing strategies, product development, trail building and interpretation services.
The trail provides access to recreational activities, including hot and cold springs, river swimming, a crater lake used for fishing, rock climbing and the opportunity to summit a mountain peak with views across the Pacific Ocean. Furthermore the trail will provide access to monitor numerous endemic and endangered species of the region. The national park Mahagnao is shared by two municipalities, La Paz and Burauen, however there is no direct access to the national park from La Paz. There is great potential for this trail to expand access to the park and enhance the overall conservation effort.
This project, kickstarting the development of the Mahagnao Mountain Trail (now Kalabato Trail) was extremely successful!
The quality of work convinced local authorities to not only support the full development of a 6km trail connecting to a National Park, but also to develop Kalabato Park, which is situated 1.5 km along the trail and is currently being used on a daily basis. After completing the trail, the workers from Bocawon then built swimming areas in a river, at a series of waterfalls, and at multiple hot springs. They also built several picnic areas with tables, chairs and shade structures. They provided landscape aesthetics by restoring an area that had suffered from a landslide. Through the guidance of the Peace Corps volunteer, 30 community members received job training in ecotourism, park construction, and business planning. Kalabato Park is now accessible to senior citizens and directly benefits the local population of Bocawon Village (200), La Paz (20,000), and now serves as a regional tourist site!