History of Jim Corbett National Park -Uttarakhand, India
Prior to years 1815-20 of British Rule, forests of now Jim Corbett National Park were PRIVATE PROPERTY of local rulers. Though ownership had passed into British hands, Government paid little or no attention to upkeep of (now) Jim Corbett National Park, located between 29°25' and 29°39'N latitude and between 78°44' and 79°07'E longitude near Ramnagar, Distt Nainital, Uttarakhand. The sole aim was to exploit natural resources and extract as much profit as possible from forest of (now) Jim Corbett National Park for wood to be used for furniture and industrial purposes.
It was only in year 1858 that Major Ramsay drew up first comprehensive conservation plan to protect forest (now) Jim Corbett National Park realising that region is very fertile due to its temprate weather as temperature during winters may vary from 8°C (44°F) to 32°C (88°F). Summer temperature in Jim Corbett during June rise upto 42°C. In 1861-62 farming was banned ( now form part of core zone of Jim Corbett National Park), Cattle sheds were pulled down, domestic animals were driven out from forest (now Jim Corbett National Park) and a regular cadre of workers was created to fight forest fire and secure forest (now Jim Corbett National Park) from illegal felling of trees. Licenses were issued for timber and counting of trees was undertaken. In 1868, Forest department assumed responsibility for forests (now Jim Corbett National Park) and in 1879 forests of lower Patlidun valley were declared reserved forest under British forest Act. Major Ramsay ensured that his orders and conservaion plans (1958) to be followed and implemented strictly, by year 1896 condition of forest (now) Jim Corbett National Park began to improve singificantly. Major Ramsay's plans reflected deep thought reflected science of forestry.
In a letter dated January 3,1907, Sir, Michael Keen for first time referred to possibility of turning these forests into a wildlife sanctuary however proposal was then turned down. It was years later in 1934 Governor, Sir Malcolm Hailey, SUPPORTED PROPOSAL for sanctuary and wanted enactment of a law to give it PROTECTION. To OVERCOME DELAYS that legislation would entail the AREA was made into a RESERVE FOREST by CHIEF CONSERVATOR OF FOREST. Later in consultation with Major Jim Corbett, boundaries of now JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK (CORBETT TIGER RESERVE) were demarcated in 1936. The United Province National Park Act was enforced and after enforcement of UNITED PROVINCE NATIONAL PARK ACT this RESERVE FOREST became FIRST NATIONAL PARK OF INDIA, much before Independence of India (1947) and it was aptly named Hailey National Park after its FOUNDER Sir, Malcolm Hailey.
Initially Jim Corbett National Park measured merely 323.75 km², but to accommodate wild animals like Tigers and Elephants, it was expanded to 520 km² (core area) & 797.72 km² (buffer area). The core area forms Jim Corbett National Park while buffer contains reserve forests (496.54 km²) & Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary (301.18 km²) makes the total covered area of Jim Corbett National Park 1,318.54 km² appx. Gangotri National Park in Uttarakhand is ranked 4th with an area of 2,390 km² on list of top 10 Biggest & largest National Parks in India and Hemis National Park in Jammu and Kashmir is largest national park of India with 4,400 km². also National Park located in highest altitude in India. South Button Island National Park in Andaman & Nicobar Islands is smallest National Park in India with total area of 2 miles² only.
The year 1973 was landmark in field of wildlife preservation and conservation in India, this year wildlife preservationist and naturalists from around world launched PROJECT TIGER, most prestigious and biggest total environmental conservation project ever undertaken in India. The Jim Corbett National Park now in Distt- Nainital, Uttarakhand has distinction of having been chosen venue for inauguration of this project in India. Jim Corbett National Park History also witnessed construction of Dam at Kalagarh River, submerging 80 sq km area of Jim Corbett. There were 109 poaching cases registered in Jim Corbett National Park in1988–89 and figure drop down to 12 in 1997–98, but as study revealed cases of tiger poaching are on rising in Jim Corbett, number of confirmed cases of tiger poaching in Uttarakhand has been highest in country as per report in Down to earth magazine published on Wednesday 05July 2017. More than 12 people were killed in tiger and animal attacks across Uttarakhand last year.
Tourism Activities in Jim Corbett National Park:
- Safaris: Jeep Safari is most common way to travel within National Park; Jeeps can be rented for park trips from Office of Director Jim Corbett National Park or from Park Safari Gates.
- Zones: Dhikala, Bijrani, Dhela, Jhirna and Durgadevi are six safari zones in jim corbett. There are forest rest house, in almost all zone and some of them was built hundred of years ago.
- Treks: Tourists are not allowed to walk inside Jim Corbett National Park, but allowed around park boundary with guide. Walking Tours are possible in buffer zone of Jim Corbett and very rewarding & healthy as Jim Corbett surrounding are lush, green and rich in birds and flora and plant diversity.
- Kalagarh Dam & Tumaria Dam: These dam located near Jim Corbett National Park. These are best places for bird watching tour. Lots of migratory water birds comes here during winters.
- Corbett Fall: This water fall situated appx 23 km from Ramnagar on Kaladhungi–Ramnagar highway leading to Nainital & Haldwani.
- Garjiya Devi Temple: Garjiya Devi temple is located on the bank of river Kosi, amidst the hilly terrains mostly visited by traveller during Kartik Poornima (November–December).