Before the Expedition
Report from the Survey Expedition
- On Friday March 13th, two unique brigades set out on a 14-day journey in the footsteps of their ancestors. From Haa and Trashigang, teams representing a collaboration between Tourism Council of Bhutan, Desuung, National Land Survey Commission, Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies journeyed across Bhutan. With lead sponsorship by the Bhutan Canada Foundation the brigades retraced, mapped and cleared the historic trail that was once a critical physical connection across the Nation.
- Trails are as much about building community as clearing the path. All along the route, volunteers came out in abundance to help clear, provide hospitality, share stories and walk with the teams.
- Detailed mapping is still to be completed, however the total distance of the Trans Bhutan Trail has been estimated at 403km. Total elevation gains and losses will take a while to calculate. On several days teams climbed over 1,000m per day.
- Forestry, Dzongdas, community leaders local guides along the route provided vital local knowledge and support.
- Given the recent Covid-19 global virus outbreak, the Brigades offered community health education, soap, along with hand sanitization tips to communities along the way.
- Wednesday, March 25th marked trail survey completion. The teams met at the historic Trongsa Dzong gates, the symbolic connection between East and West in Bhutan. Like so many travelers throughout the ages, there were sore feet, lots of stories to share, and deep connections.
- Tourism directly employs approximately 50,000 people in Bhutan and many more indirectly. It competes with hydro as the largest industry in Bhutan. Covid-19 has wiped out 2020 tourism and caused great economic hardship across the country. To mitigate the impact, the TBT has been requested to prepare work plans for trail improvements through which many unemployed tourism workers might be engaged in the coming months.
- A local web design company was recently contracted to design, implement and manage the Trans Bhutan Trail website. Stay tuned and well everyone!
Recent links from press:
The Trans Bhutan Trail Project (TBT) will restore and reconnect the centuries old historic East-West path that runs across Central Bhutan. This trail will provide connection for local communities and educational opportunities for youth. It will also create an accessible, unique cultural and nature-based tourism experience.