The Jakarta Post
A hiker on his journey to hike Mount Rinjani from the Senaru route. (Shutterstock/File)
Since its closure following a string of earthquakes in July and August last year, a popular hiking trail on Mount Rinjani, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), has yet to be reopened due to safety reasons.
In charge of the area is the Mount Rinjani National Park Agency (TNGR), which said it was still waiting for the results of a survey on the matter.
“We are still waiting for resurvey [results] to ensure the safety of the hiking track,” TNGR head Sudiyono Harjo Puspito told The Jakarta Post on Thursday in Mataram, NTB.
Sudiyono said the earthquake had damaged parts of the trail and triggered landslides, including one between Sembalun village and Lake Segara Anak.
“We conducted an initial survey as part of the requirement to reopen the hiking trail. However, we weren’t able to finish it because a 5.4-magnitude earthquake hit the region again on March 17,” Sudiyono said, adding that the agency had completed around 35 percent of the survey prior to the recent earthquake.
The survey focused on studying the feasibility of the hiking trail as well as mapping damaged areas and disaster mitigation efforts.
Mount Rinjani is one of NTB’s most popular tourist destinations. Three entrance gates are available for climbers seeking to hike the mountain, namely Sembalun in East Lombok, Senaru in North Lombok and Air Berik in Central Lombok.
Several parties have urged the agency to open the hiking trail as mountaineering services are the main source of income for residents.
North Lombok administration spokesperson Mujaddid Muhas said the regent had sent TNGR an official request regarding the matter.
Mountaineering service providers under the Senaru Tour Operator Association (ATOS) recommended that TNGR open the Senaru trail as its observation concluded that it is safe if hikers don't go too far.
“We have tried the Senaru track and it is safe, but only if we hike until Pelawangan,” said ATOS head Sumatim. (gis/kes)