Horseback Adventures for Wilderness Conservation in Mongolia
Three Seasons of Horseback Adventures for Wilderness Conservation in Mongolia
Next year we will be going into the fourth season of our horseback adventure for wilderness conservation in Mongolia. For 2018, we have added two days of riding to this special horseback expedition that travels through two of Mongolia’s premier parks. Riders experience both the cultural landscapes of Gorkhi Terelj National Park and the wilderness of the Khentii mountains, designated as Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area.
Iconic Wilderness Destination threatened by Visitor Impacts
For the last three years, we have coordinated with the park authorities and focused our conservation activities on improving visitor management at Hagiin Har Nuur, Black Lichen Lake. This iconic destination in the Khentii mountains has seen a rapid increase in visitor numbers in recent years. Facilities, and awareness, were lacking, and park rangers are under-resourced to effectively fulfill their protection mandate. The fragile environment around the lake was being degraded. Years of rubbish accumulated near campsites, and so did human waste. The advent of motorized vehicles brought tracks cutting through virgin forest, bushlands, and grasslands, tires destroying fragile forest floor and leaving their marks on the banks of clear creeks and wild rivers.
Taking Responsibility as an Adventure Tour Operator
We have explored our riding destinations in Mongolia for over fifteen years. We feel intimately connected to these landscapes, having experienced them first hand for so long. Some of our professional work, before we became adventure tour operators, in supporting park management and conservation involved these areas. Now with Stone Horse Expeditions, the grandeur of these landscapes, the preservation of wilderness, the protection of wildlife and the maintenance of all the conservation values that define these areas, are at the heart of the experiences we offer. It is our responsibility to actively engage in conservation efforts, as people and as a business, and our lives have always been driven and shaped by that engagement.
Horseback Adventures for Wilderness Conservation in Mongolia – Awarded in several ways
This year (2017) in early August we were on our way again for more horseback adventures for wilderness conservation in Mongolia, taking extra pack horses to distribute the heavy loads. Not only provisions and camp gear, but also another prefab back country toilet was to be carried by our experienced and willing pack horses. With four guests our whole group counted ten riders, eight pack horses, ten saddle horses and three spare horses. Once again, our trek made its way, from an advanced camp, through the grasslands of Gorkhi Terelj National Park, and crossing over the high pass to reach the mountain wilderness of the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected area.
At our destination, we established camp and set out to the Southern lake shore for this season’s conservation work. After meeting up with the park rangers there, the work began – assembling the toilet, digging a pit, collecting rubbish, cleaning up camp fire sites. Little did we know that on that day the work would be finished in record time. On the way to the work site we had passed the camp of another horse trekking group, explaining the timber load of our pack horses was a prefab toilet, and our goal was to clean up the Southern lake shore. This group had soon got on their horses to join in the work. Something we had hoped would happen, sooner or later, – a nice reward for us to know that we set an example and inspired others to follow.
Horseback Adventures for Wilderness Conservation in Mongolia – Energy Glove National Award 2017
The support by fellow wilderness travelers was not the only award however that our Horseback Adventures for Wilderness Conservation in Mongolia saw in 2017. Stone Horse Expeditions received the Energy Globe National Award 2017 for Mongolia. In the award statement, the Energy Globe jury recognizes that “this year’s National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Mongolia protects the environmental management of one of the largest wilderness areas in Asia by supporting eco-tourism”.
“A small adventure tour operator took the initiative to undertake park management activities with their own funding, created through the Wilderness Conservation Holiday Adventure Expedition and the international paying guests who participate. This way, they can support protected area authorities in protecting the environment, creating public awareness, conserving biodiversity and wildlife protection.”
We are grateful for this recognition, our thanks go out to the Energy Globe Award, and to all those who helped with the work on the ground – our guests, the volunteers who joined, and our team members, both human and equine.
Check out the upcoming Wilderness Conservation Adventure 2018.