The Forestry Commission (FC) is seeking some 10 million dollars to upgrade the Shai -Hills Resource Reserve to boost its ecotourism potential and make it a distinctive tourism destination in the sub-region.
According to the Commission, the unique proximity of the Shai Hills Reserve to Accra, coupled with its diverse life forms, and rich cultural and archeological sites made it a huge economic potential that should be exploited to promote Ghana�s tourism drive and earnings.
Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah, Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the FC made the disclosure when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry toured the facility to acquaint itself with the workings and challenges of the reserve.
Nana Adu-Nsiah told the committee members that if the needed investment were mobilized to upgrade the infrastructure of the facility, the Shai Hill reserve could become the cash-cow of the tourism sector.
He said the FC�s main thrust to improve the viability of the reserve was to enhance security by fencing the whole area, re-stocking the existing animals and introducing exotic species like giraffes and zebras and putting up world-class recreational facilities on the reserve.
The FC intends fencing entire 33 kilometre land area of the reserve to stem encroachment and poaching, and construction and rehabilitation of new and existing road network on the reserve.
It also wants to put up utilities, accommodation and outdoor facilities to attract patronage to the reserve. This include a 100-bed middle to upper level eco-lodges, game viewing platforms and outdoor reception areas.
Nana Adu-Nsiah said with its strategic location, the reserve had the capacity to increase visitation by a 100 per cent or more if innovative ecotourism infrastructure were put up to provide a nature based experience to visitors.
The reserve presently boasts of animal species like the Western Kob, Busbuck, Oribi and the commonly sighted baboons.
It has a rich bird-life of over 160 species with unique characteristics including ground hornbills, Bustards and green and grey parrots.
Additionally, the area, which is the last remnant of the Accra Plains, has a terrain and structure that can support adventure tourism and the FC intends promoting rock climbing and guided hiking tours on the plains.
The reserve which has four distinctive caves and archeological sites, also harbours the ancestral homes and religious sites of the Shai people
Mr Albert Abongo, MP for Bongo and Chairman of the Committee was of the view that the reserve had huge revenue potential for Ghana, and pledged the Committees support to ensure that the necessary assistance was sought to enable the game and wildlife reserve to realize its potential.
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