A view of a machan (forest observation tower) in the Bijrani section of Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand state of India. It was Asia’s first national park, which came into existence when the U.P. National Park Act was passed in 1935 in British India, when Sir Malcolm Hailey was Governor of United Provinces. The Park was spread over an area of 122 square miles (about 312 sq.km) and was first named as Hailey National Park. After India’s independence, in 1952, the name was changed to Ramganga National Park. Then in 1957, the park was once again christened Corbett National Park as a tribute to the legendary Jim Corbett. The National Park added another first to its credit when in 1973 it served as the launch pad for India’s tiger protection programme ‘Project Tiger’ and also became India’s first Tiger Reserve. Efforts to save the forests of the region began way back in the 19th century under Major Ramsay, the British Officer in-charge of the area. In 1879 these forests were constituted into a Reserve Forest where restricted felling was permitted. Later, in the early 1900s several Britishers, including E.R. Stevans and E.A. Smythies, mooted the idea of setting up of the National Park. It was only in the 1930s that the process for demarcation of such an area got underway, assisted by Jim Corbett, who knew the area well.
- © Copyright Sanjay Marathe
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