Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP)
Annapurna Conservation Area is the largest conservation area in Nepal that covers 7,629 sq. km. and is spread across Manang, Mustang, Kaski, Myagdi, and Lamjung districts. In 1986, the Nepal government has declared the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). Being the first conservation area in Nepal, it is also the largest protected area that is home to 100,000 residents from different cultural groups.
The entire region of Annapurna is abundant in flora and fauna. As per recent data, there are 105 mammals, 518 birds, 40 reptiles, 23 amphibians, and 1,226 flowering plants. Apart from its rich biodiversity, Annapurna Conservation Area houses the world's deepest river gorge, Kali Gandaki Gorge (3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide). Along with that here, the very famous and stunning Tilicho Lake and the biggest rhododendron forests are also situated. With that being said the conservation area also includes picturesque villages and rushing streams & rivers.
The Annapurna region equally boasts of cultural diversity. People from several ethnic groups like Magar, Gurung, Manang, Loba, Thakali, Brahmin, Chhetri, and others reside here. All of these communities have distinct cultures, traditions, languages, delicacies, festivals, and practices. Besides all of these diversities, they live in peace and harmony. Hinduism and Buddhism are the two main religions of the Annapurna Region.
Likewise, the region houses Annapurna Himalayas and offers scenery, unlike any other place. The trekking trail is very beautiful and tempting. Throughout the trail, there are many stupas, monasteries, Chortens, mani walls, and prayer flags that bless the region and the trekkers. Himalayan mountains like Annapurna Range (8,091 m), Dhaulagiri Range (8,167 m), Mt. Nilgiri (7,061 m), Mt. Gangapurna (7,455 m), Mt. Tukuche (6,920 m), Mardi Himal (5,587 m), Lamjung Himal (6,983 m), and many others decorates the trail.
All of the above traits attract hundreds and thousands of travelers every year to this region, making it one of the major trekking and travel destinations in Nepal. Tourism has made it possible for many villages as the main income stream and hugely contributed to the local economy. Numerous lodges, teahouses, tea shops, and guesthouses are built all over the trail to cater to the trekkers.
With the increasing number of travelers, the region has also faced issues like more fuelwood consumption and waste produced by trekkers along with huge pressure on the forest. However, the government and all the private bodies are working together to run more eco-friendly and sustainable trips.