ENTRY to the Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park (formerly Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve), which is now free, will soon cost RM12 and RM4 per entry for Malaysian adults and children, respectively.
For foreigners, the entry fees can be as high as RM40 for adults and RM18 for children.
Disabled visitors will still be able to get in for free.
With the added entrance fee, forest rangers will be on hand to take visitors on guided tours of the site, explaining the various species of flora, fauna and insects in the forest.
The 9.37ha forest is in the heart of the city near Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur.
Currently, those who enter the KL Forest Eco Park only need to register their names in a log book located at the entrance of the Forest Eco Park head office.
The Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia had presented a proposal on the plan to the relevant authorities six months ago and it is still pending approval.
During a recent tree-planting visit, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri said the Forestry Department spent about RM200,000 annually to maintain the park.
“With the income generated from the entrance fees, we can improve the existing facilities there.
“The collection is estimated at RM1mil annually, which is more than sufficient to manage and maintain the park, and even beautify it further.
“About 2,810 tourists visit KL Forest Eco Park monthly, or a total of 33,725 tourists annually.
“The Canopy Walk has been a major attraction since it was opened to the public in November 2015,” he said, adding that the entrance fee was not too much as people get to enjoy the facilities provided while savouring the Malaysian rainforest in the heart of the city.
“Tourists will get to see the rich variety of flora that includes rare herbs, giant bamboo grass, creepers and ferns. This is a rare sight and should not be missed.
“Visitors can traverse any of the trails available such as the 360m Merbau Trail, the 300m Jelutong Trail or the 200m Canopy Walk, which is 21m high up in the trees.
“There are also 223 tree species, 12 animal species such as bats, civet cats, squirrels, monkeys and rats as well as 25 species of birds in this small forest,” Hamim said, adding that 18 of the bird species were protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
KL Forest Eco Park is open from 8am to 5pm daily and there are two entrances – the KL Forest Eco Park head office located at Jalan Raja Chulan and another at the KL Tower.
The Forestry Department is working hand-in-hand with KL Tower and Tourism Malaysia to promote the forest park to foreigners and even locals.
There are four permanent forest reserve areas in Kuala Lumpur – Bukit Lagong (2.1ha), Bukit Nanas (9.37ha), Sungai Puteh (14.51ha) and Sungai Besi (42.29ha).
Bukit Lagong’s area remains unchanged since it was gazetted in 1962, but the forest area in Bukit Nanas, which was gazetted in 1906 with an area of 17ha, has since been reduced in size to 9.37ha as a result of road and infrastructure projects.
The Sungai Puteh permanent forest area, gazetted in 1933 with an area of 40ha, is now 14.51ha while the Sungai Besi permanent forest area has seen a loss of 4.71ha since it was gazetted in 1932.
Hamim also added that there were plans on the way to preserve the remaining forests in Kuala Lumpur.
“Sungai Puteh forest reserve will be an educational forest while Bukit Lagong forest reserve, which is near the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia in Kepong, will be used for forest conservation and research,” he said.