Expansion of national park in the pipeline

The Kinta Valley karst is part of the national geopark. — Filepic

TASIK Cermin or Mirror Lake, a hidden gem in Gunung Rapat, Ipoh will be part of the Kinta Valley National Geopark.

The lake will be the 19th site to be included in the state’s geopark list. The other sites 18 sites are Gua Tambun, Gunung Datok, Gunung Rapat, Lata Ulu Chepor, Gunung Kanthan, Gunung Lang, Hutan Lipur Ulu Kinta, Gunung Tasek, Mata Air Panas Lubuk Timah, Gua Naga Mas, Air Terjun Sungai Chelik, Jeram Papan, Gua Kandu, Gua Tempurung, Jeram Sungai Kampar, Air Terjun Sungai Salu, Air Terjun Batu Berangkai and Gunung Korbu.

Perak Mineral and Geoscience Department director Datuk Ahmad Zukni Ahmad Khalil said research on Tasik Cermin would start next year once funds were obtained.

He said the former iron mine site was geologically rich in flora and fauna.

The department, he added, also planned to measure the depth of the lake.

“There were previously two quarries located at the site but ceased operations between three and four years ago.

“The lake looks black because the site is rich in iron ore, ” he said in an interview at his office in Ipoh.

It was reported early this year that the lake was under severe threat due to quarry activities.

This was after photos of the hidden lake, surrounded by limestone karst towers, made its rounds among nature groups, who feared it was signs of pollution.

The only way to get to the lake is via an unused quarry and walking through a 50m-long tunnel.

Ahmad Zukni said Kinta Valley covered 1,952sq km, encompassing both Kinta and Kampar districts.

He said geopark aspects encompass the local community, food and culture as well as the area’s geology and bio-diversity.

He added that an expedition initiated by the department in July at Gunung Korbu involved more than 130 participants, who were experts in various fields.

The participants were from local universities and government agencies.

“The excursion was necessary to find new sites and collect scientific data to be presented in a seminar planned for March next year.

“Data collection on geology, flora, fauna and moss was recorded, where the information and findings are now being compiled, and will likely be published into a book before the start of the seminar, ” he added.

Ahmad Zukni said there were also hopes to expand the geopark out of Kinta Valley, towards Larut Matang, especially Taiping that is filled with heritage buildings and sites.

Perak, he said, was synonymous with tin mining and had many geologically rich areas.

“We are not just talking about caves but also houses, places of worship and castles steeped in history and heritage.

“So the role of our department is to ensure that the geology aspects especially connected with heritage, including findings of fossils, are preserved.

“When such fossils are found, we then engage with various agencies, because the age of rocks tell us how old an embedded fossil is, ” he added.

Kinta Valley, he said, was rich with limestone caves, where a complete fossil of a vertebrate mammal believed to have lived during the Pleistocene age embedded in the cave wall of Gua Naga Mas in Gopeng was discovered.

“Research is being carried out with the experts together with the Perak State Park Corporation and researchers to ensure such historical sites are preserved for the future, ” he added.

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