PENANGITES are blessed with good food, good beaches, and an international airport to boot.
The best part is the numerous hiking trails along the slopes of Penang Hill.
These trails snake up the slopes of the hill with rest stops such as Station 84, Station 3, Station 5, Station 21 and Station 39.
All the stations provide drinking water, coffee, tea and even biscuits.
Station 3 gets top marks for serving fried noodles from its own kitchen.
Hundreds, from grandfathers to children, trek these trails on weekdays, swelling to thousands on weekends.
No wonder, the wooden steps and paths are often badly eroded, and the trails get slippery when it rains.
Fellow hikers provide voluntary service to fix the steps and dig side drains.
But given the traffic on these public trails, it is time the state government made a study of the numerous trails to upgrade the paths and steps.
It should also look at aspects of safety, maintenance and erosion control to minimise disturbance to the forest reserve and provide basic facilities at these public places.
Tagging the forest trees along the trails will be an educational bonus.
Perhaps, we can learn from the management of hiking trails in Australia and the Lake District in Britain.
After all, trekking is a premier way to promote wholesome living and good health.
S.B. CHIU, Penang. (via e-mail)