The establishment of Kinabalu Geopark as a National Geopark will not affect the daily activities of residents staying in the area and surrounding districts, a geologist said today.
Kinabalu Geopark advisor Prof Dr Felix Tongkul said those staying in Ranau, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu districts could continue with their daily activities including agriculture as there will be no prohibition.
However, he said residents will be given guidelines about the importance of the park and also ways to generate income via eco-tourism activities.
"We are aware that some villagers are worried that their lands will be taken away and that they will have to stop farming, mining or even building houses after the gazette.
"Rest assured that the recognition is meant to sustain nature and uniqueness around the park area.
"Therefore, there should be no worry about the National Geopark status disrupting daily activities. Instead, I believe residents will reap benefit from it." he said.
The Kinabalu Geopark is expected to be gazetted as a National Geopark next year.
It was reported that Sabah has set its sights on getting Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding districts listed in Unesco Global Geoparks by 2020.
To do so, the geopark would have to be recognised as a National Geopark before it could be declared a Unesco Global Geopark.
Felix, who is also Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) geologist, said eco-tourism activities such as "tagal" or river conservation, practised by the Kadazandusun people, could be expanded after the gazettement.
He added the recognition would complement Kinabalu Park as a Unesco World Heritage Site by providing conservation of the area or the present and future generations.