The National Trust for Nature Conservation launched the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the first and largest conservation area in Nepal, covering 7,629 sq. km in 1986 as an innovative concept in the protected area management system of the country. The conservation area embraces a multiple land use principles of resource management that combines environmental protection with sustainable community development. Traditional subsistence activities are woven into a framework of sound resource management, supplemented by conservation, development and alternative energy Programmemes to minimize the negative impacts of tourism and enhance the living standards of the local people.
The biological diversity of the Annapurna Region is equally rivaled by its rich cultural diversity. Since the first trekker came to the Annapurna area in 1957, the natural and cultural features of ACAP have made it the most popular tourist destination in Nepal, drawing more than 60 per cent of the country’s total trekkers. ACAP follows the three grassroot philosophy of maximum peoples participation, sustainability, and its role as catalyst (facilitator) whereby the local people are involved in all aspects of the conservation and development processes, both as principal actors and prime beneficiaries.
ACAP is spread out in 5 districts of the Western Development Region of Nepal and covers 55 Village Development Committees. ACAP is divided into seven unit conservation offices located in the field – Jomsom, Manang, Lho Manthang in the Northern Programme section and Bhujung, Lwang, Sikles and Ghandruk in the Southern Programme section.
The goal of ACAP is to achieve sustained balance between nature conservation and socio-economic improvement in the Annapurna Conservation Area thereby assist National Trust for Nature Conservation in achieving its goal.”
ACAP aims to conserve the natural resources of ACA for the benefit of present and future generations, bring sustainable social and economic development to the local people and develop tourism in such a way that it will have minimum negative impact on the natural, socio-cultural and economic environments.