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Ecotourism – Pacific Northwest Climbers Making a Difference in Nepal

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Ecotourism
Ecotourism is taking off and this summer a group of intrepid climbers are hoping to raise money and awareness on Mount Rainier that will help bring electricity to Nepalese schools devastated by last year’s earthquake.  Photo by Johnny Lai

Ecotourism is becoming a popular travel option, and the Pacific Northwest has a special relationship with the people of Nepal.  The volcanic peaks that dominate our landscape have been providing the training grounds for climbers and expeditions seeking out the highest mountains in the Himalayan Range since the first U.S. expeditions to Mount Everest.

On April 25, 2015, a massive 7.8 earthquake rocked Nepal destroying nearly a million homes and more than 10,000 schools. Though the tragedy is no longer in the headlines, the need for rebuilding is still vast.  Last year, Seattle Backpackers Magazine covered the public/private collaboration of individuals and organizations bringing much needed resources to the people of Nepal.  Last year’s efforts led to the rebuilding of homes in Nepal using sustainable methods designed to better withstand the stresses of earthquakes in the future.

This year, the rebuilding effort continues with a project to bring sustainable electricity to the villages left without reliable power and Seattle Backpackers Magazine is once again committed to covering this important humanitarian story.  Seattle based Wildland Adventures is partnering with 3 Summits for Nepal to help bring solar panels and hope to four village schools that were devastated by the earthquake.  While the rebuilding is nearly completed, the schools are still without power.

ecotourism
Volunteers help rebuild a house using earthquake resistant methods in 2015. Funding for the rebuilding effort was supported by a public/private partnership. Photo courtesy of Pam Perry

If you are interested in supporting the solar panel project or actually getting your hands dirty in Nepal, there are many ways to participate.

  1. Nepal Night. Wildland Adventures will host Nepal Night at the Himalayan Sherpa House in Seattle. Ang Sherpa, veteran of several expeditions to Everest, will share his climbing stories and speakers will update the struggles and conditions in remote Himalayan villages. Drinks, Nepalese appetizers, and lessons in how to make those delicious momos will be provided. Also take part in a fun silent auction. This event is limited to 50 guests and is sure to be a memorable evening.

         When: Monday, July 11 from 6:30 – 8:30pm

         Where:  Himalayan Sherpa House – 2227 North 56th Street, Seattle, WA 98103

         Tickets: $15 in advance ($20 at the door)

  1. Climb for Nepal. A team of Wildland staff and friends will attempt to summit Mt. Rainier beginning on July 28, 2016. This effort will help raise awareness of the ongoing need to support the rebuilding of Nepal. “This will be no easy task, but well worth the effort.” says Wildland’s Jonathan Burnham, one of the climbers. “I’m looking forward to photos of the school lit up by solar power more than I am of the summit of Mt. Rainier. When businesses are able to collaborate to help solve social causes, the world is a better place.”
  1. Get your Hands Dirty.  Consider taking an ecotourism trip to Nepal and help install the solar panels yourself. The solar panels will be delivered by Wildland travelers in November 2016 as part of a 15-day journey through Bhutan and Nepal.
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