The Department of Tourism (DOT) has slammed “irresponsible” visitors to Camp John Hay’s (CJH) scenic eco-trail who have defaced plants and dumped wastes in the area.
In a statement on Thursday, the DOT blasted the vandalism caused by the visitors to the eco-trail as “irresponsible” and called on all travelers to practice responsible tourism and environmental stewardship.
John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) also denounced the irresponsible acts and has closed indefinitely the eco-trail.
“The DOT condemns yet another irresponsible incident in Baguio City, this time about the dumping of garbage and destruction of plants by trekkers in the vicinity of Camp John Hay,” it said.
“The DOT reminds tourists to practice responsible tourism and environmental stewardship, along with the compliance with the health and safety guidelines, to help revive the tourism industry amidst the pandemic,” it stressed.
An advisory by the JHMC on Jan. 9 said that some trekkers “deliberately dump their trash and wrote graffiti on plant leaves along the CJH trails.”
Along the trail, the management collected empty water bottle, food wraps, cigarette butts, wet wipes, and diapers – flammable materials that could risk “massive forest fire,” it said.
JHMC said the indefinite closure would allow them to clean the trails and the affected indigenous plants and trees to recover. However, it noted that consideration for permanent closure is not yet off the table.
“After which, careful assessment and evaluation shall be conducted by the JHMC to ascertain whether or not the Camp John Hay trails are viable. Significant consideration shall be given on tourists/trekkers’ environmental responsibility otherwise it will be closed permanently,” it warned.
The incident comes two months after Baguio’s Bamboo Ecopark was forced to temporarily close when some tourists defaced the site’s bamboo culms or poles by engraving their names and relieving themselves along the pathway. CURRENTPH