H IS Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk opened the visitors' center at the Preah
Suramarit-Kossamak National Park in Kompong Speu on June 5 (above) - a case of a
The center's site was once the King's residence, an
area he named Kirirom Plateau more than 50 years ago. In 1950 the Kirirom forest
was designated a reserve by Royal decree.
The King's residence was
virtually destroyed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, with only the chimney
The $10,000 cost of the new visitors center was
paid for by a sponsorship from British oil and gas exploration company
Enterprise Oil. It now stands as a permanent monument to King
The center, built by Roymar Services, will house a permanent
display about the National Park and will sell guide books and mementos. The
viewing platform commands spectacular views of the forest and a large freshwater
The Preah Suramarit-Kossamak National Park is 35,000 hectares and
is home to a wide variety of birds, tropical vegetation and animals. A Ministry
of Environment survey, again paid by Enterprise sponsorship, identified 105
species of plants, 195 species of birds, and elephants, tigers, leopards, and
"The park's inaugration by His Majesty King Sihanouk is an
important event in Cambodia's long-term environmental calendar," Enterprise
general manager Barry Rogers said.
"It seems particularly appropriate
that the park should be inaugrated on World Environment Day [June 5]," he said.