We belong to the indoor generation. We grew up in front of screens, worshipping the endless dumbing down of humanity and the inevitable loss of wonder for the world outside. At least in India a major part of this problem can be blamed on the simple fact that organised outdoor activities are a rarity. The most you can hope for is kicking a football around in the building foyer or a round of gully cricket before bed.
In an attempt to right this wrong, the Karnataka Forest Department has introduced a revolutionary system, The Green Passport for trekkers. Functioning in much the same way as a regular passport the idea is that people can complete treks after which they’ll get their ‘passport’ stamped with the trail’s identification number to mark their journey. By completing certain sets of trails you can win a certificate of achievement.
Not only does this act as a incentive to get people back out in the open but allows the forest department to regulate the traffic through the wilderness. Many people have been injured and even lost their lives while following illegal trekking trails. By encouraging the green passport they can actively encourage people to stay on safe and designated routes.
There are plans to open up 14 complete trails running throughout the Western Ghats. Some of which include the Savandurga forests in Magadi, the Nandi Hills of Chikkaballapura and the Timlapura forest each of which span from 7km to 14km within a day. So whether you’re a veteran or a newbie, grab your backpack and some comfy shoes because it’s time for us to return to the wild outdoors.