The Kampot Provincial Hall has granted the environment department’s request to register several scenic mountains in the coastal province as protected sites.
Home to abundant natural resources and biodiversity, the listing of Phnom Kampong Trach, Phnom Chhngouk, Phnom Kbal Romeas and Phnom La’ang as protected cultural and historical sites would be of great benefit to the local communities and environment, said Kampot provincial governor Cheav Tay.
Tay said on Monday that the four mountains are tourist attractions that have drawn local and international visitors. The authority plans to list more places as protected sites.
“We have 17 other locations to establish as protected areas. As a first step, we decided to select the four mountains that are of substantial benefits to our people, society and the environment, now and in the future,” he said.
Tay said the request would be forwarded to the government for approval after final discussion at provincial level on Friday.
Provincial environment department director Suy Thea said the mountains deserve protected status, given their historical and cultural significance. The sites also serve as habitats for wildlife, among them leopards, gibbons, bats and rare plants.
“The designation serves to protect cultural heritage and biodiversity for our next generation,” Thea said.
Provincial tourism department director Say Sinol told The Post on Monday that the four mountains are cultural and natural tourist attractions that would continue to draw local and international visitors to the coastal province.
“I think the transformation of the four mountains into protected areas is a good thing as the cultural and historical sites are home to natural resources and biodiversity that are a boon to the tourism sector.
“It is necessary to protect, preserve and develop them for economic and social benefits,” Sinol said.
In the first six months of this year, a total of 857,528 people visited the province, 92,718 of them were foreigners, Sinol said.