The idea for the Khopra Ridge and Mohare Danda Community Trek was first conceived in 2002 by Mahabir Pun. It took until 2010 to launch the project and the trail opened to trekkers the following year.
When Mr. Pun first considered the idea, Nepal was in the midst of a civil war that kept tourists away and the plan on hold. The war came to a resolution in 2006, and four years later the idea was made into reality with funding from the Nepal Micro-Enterprise Development Program (60%) and village contribution (40%).
The official name of the trail is the Community-managed Ecotrail Mohare-Khopra-Khayar Lek. It is also known as the Annapurna Dhaulagiri Community Trek and Parbat Myagdi Ecotourism Trek.
- Expand available tourist trekking trails to include the wealth of nature and culture found in the majority Magar districts of Parbat and Myagdi.
- Generate funding for schools, clinics, infrastructure, and other community development initiatives.
- Establish and increase the revenue of entrepreneurs and small enterprises, fostering new economies.
- Create job opportunities within remote communities.
- Protect wildlife and conserve nature, including by way of renewable energy development.
- Establish and promote a form of sustainable and eco-friendly community-based tourism.
The Khopra and Mohare Community Trek is managed by a 10-member community board, representing each of the participant villages. The board is led by MDKR founder Mahabir Pun, a native of Nangi village. The project coordinator is Chitra Pun, a native of Ramche village.
Revenue from this trek is used to maintain the trail and support the communities it runs through. Ten percent of profits are used to cover administrative costs, while the other 90 percent is invested in the communities.
Investing in the community means repairing weathered trails and laying new stone paths, covering the salaries of community school teachers whose employment the state government budget does not account for, and making sure village clinics are prepared to aid ailing residents, including with important medicines.
This project has provided 50+ jobs to local people, who work as trekking guides, porters, cooks, homestay hosts, farmers, laborers, and construction workers. Jobs are awarded by village consensus on a merit-based system.