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Ecotourism as an Outcome from Pandemic

By: Teguh Iman Affandi

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has lasted for more than two years, has made many people dare to realize their ideas. One of them is Hariyono, a member of Kaoem Telapak, who is slowly but surely building the ecotourism site Ujung Sapar, Central Kalimantan.

“The idea has been around for a long time, twenty-five years ago, when I came to Tanjung Puting, to monitor illegal logging,” said the man who is usually called Ejhon.

Hariyono or Ejhon, a member of Kaoem Telapak

At that time, Ejhon told the idea to his friend Hapsoro who was also a member of Kaoem Telapak. He said he intended to buy land in his village, Telaga Pulang Village. Hapsoro encouraged him to buy the land. “Buy it! The price is cheap,” he said.

After that, Ejhon bought the land directly adjacent to Sembuluh Lake. He got that land for two and a half million rupiah with a land size is twenty hectares. The local community named the land Ujung Sapar. “It turns out that it was the name of the first person who had opened land here. His name was Sapar. Due to land position where is at the tip of land, so people called the land as Ujung Sapar,” Ejhon explained.

After Ejhon bought Ujung Sapar, he did not immediately cultivate the land. He is still busy with his activities in overseas lands, in the cities of Bogor and Banjarbaru. Ejhon only came to Ujung Sapar only on vacation with his family. They came to camp together.

After living in the city for over two decades, Ejhon sensed a longing to return to his hometown. He wanted to do something for his village. He felt he owed a lot to the village. “My parents were able to send me to school, thanks to the resource from this village,” said Ejhon.

In 2021, the Covid-19 Pandemic is still ongoing. People are getting bored at home. When Ejhon and his family were camping in Ujung Sapar, his wife came up with the idea to make Ujung Sapar a tourist spot. Hearing that, Ejhon became stunned.

Ujung Sapar Ecotourism from above

Ejhon realizes the potential that exists in Ujung Sapar, from the beautiful natural areas to the list of groups that are potential consumers. His experience as an environmental activist made Ejhon choose the ecotourism concept for Ujung Sapar.

“The concept that I propose is a mix between natural spot, education, and community involvement for economic empowerment,” said Ejhon.

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