Mountain Legacy Resources


Web Sites

Himalayan Journal of Sciences
HJS collaborates closely with Mountain Legacy
Reynolds Geo-Sciences
John Reynolds is the foremost expert on and practitioner of GLOF mitigation strategies.
Mt. Everest Summiters Club
About Rolwaling
Mountain Hazards, Mountain Tourism Nov. 7 - Dec. 7 2006 e-Conference hosted by Mountain Legacy
Letter from a Lama
Program for Educational Assistance and Cultural Exchange (PEACE) A volunteer/trekking program in the Indian Himalayas; one of the founding members is Bridges collaborator Nitin Chaudhan.
United Nations: Sport for Development and Peace


Himalayan Perceptions: Environmental Change and the Well-Being of Mountain Peoples, by Jack. D. Ives
Update on Himalayan Dilemma: Reconciling development and conservation, by Ives and Messerli.

Other Publications

Independent Backpacker Tourism: Key to Development in Remote Mountain Destinations, by Seth Sicroff, Empar Alos, and Roshan Shrestha. Published in the MMSEA Proceedings, 2002. [.pdf]

Multifunctionality of mountain ecosystems is a goal that is sometimes most compatible with independent backpacker tourism. Resilient to economic and political disturbance, undemanding in terms of infrastructure development, and driven by motives compatible with cultural and natural conservation, independent backpackers can also respond quickly to new recreational opportunities.

This paper has four sections. In the first, we review current trends in ecotourism. We conclude that the there are two distinct trends. On the one hand, the term has been widely used to promote a wide variety of operations, which collectively constitute "business as usual." On the other hand, the concept as used by "purists" does not, in the case of most remote mountain destinations, offer a means of sustainable development.

The second section describes an ecotourism project in Lijiang (Yunnan province, China). We believe that the failure of this project offers object lessons as to the pitfalls of benevolent development assistance. The objective was to promote independent backpacker tourism as a means of expanding economic opportunity while fostering cultural and natural conservation. This project may serve as a useful example of how opportunities can be recognized and yet missed.

The third section describes another tourism development program in Rolwaling, Nepal. This program is being implemented by Bridges: Projects in Rational Tourism Development, an organization directed by the authors of this paper. We hope that this innovative project will serve as a pilot for similar programs elsewhere.

In the fourth section we propose strategies for the expansion of independent trekking tourism, based on two survey studies as well as observations in Nepal and China.

Biodiversity and Tourism in the Sacred Valley by Seth Sicroff and Empar Alos Alabajos (Bridges-PRTD, Ithaca, USA). Published in the Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Himalayan Environments: Mountain Sciences and Ecotourism/Biodiversity, 24-26 November 2000, Kathmandu.

ABSTRACT: Rolwaling Valley in north central Nepal presents an unusual combination of problems and opportunities linking biodiversity and tourism development. It is well-established that tea house trekking offers the most beneficial results both for the hosts and for most guests (Odell and Lama 1998). Relatively isolated and unimpacted, Rolwaling has been prevented from realizing its potential as an ecotourism destination by an unfair regulation requiring trekkers to acquire expensive trekking peak permits, which also entail traveling with fully-equipped caravans. The prominent models for tourism development are inappropriate in Rolwaling; with only modest external assistance, however, Rolwaling could easily transform itself into a popular trekking destination in its own right and a convenient route of access to or egress from Sagarmatha National Park.

Sicroff, S. Acts of God are not the problem. [pdf] Himalayan Journal of Sciences, Vol.4(6) 2007 p.11-19.

ABSTRACT:Mountain tourism both increases the risks posed by mountain hazards and also provides the economic opportunity to effectively cope with those hazards. Salient points and recommendations from participants in Mountain Hazards, Mountain Tourism e-conference include:

  • Although climate change is increasing the likelihood of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), we now have the scientific tools to monitor and quantify such hazards.
  • Unfortunately, those tools are not being used on a regular basis. This increases the hazard of media sensationalism, which in turn increases the risk of serious economic damage as well as lost scientific credibility.
  • Contrary to published reports, the hazard mitigation project at Tsho Rolpa in Rolwaling was left in an incomplete state and without provision for scientific monitoring; the lake still poses a great risk.
  • More attention must be paid to the human component of mountain hazards. Ethnic cleansing programs such as the current disaster in Bhutan cause suffering and economic damage on a scale that beggars most natural events.
  • A useful step toward the rational confrontation with all sorts of disasters (not just those that impact mountains) would be the conversion of King Gyanendra’s palace into a Disaster Management University.
Development of glacial hazard and risk minimisation protocols in rural environments (DFID KaR project R7816). Online monograph by John Reynolds, managing director of Reynolds Geo-Sciences Ltd.
ICIMOD journal: Sustainable Mountain Development: A safer and just mountain habitat for all Summer 2006 - special issue on mountain hazards.
Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development
Prepared by the UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery
Landslide Hazard Assessment and Mitigation for Cultural Heritage Sites and Other Locations of High Societal Value (1998 - 2002)
IUGS-UNESCO IGCP (International Geological Correlation Program) Project No.425
Help Yogyakarta with Tourism
Web site designed to optimize tourist response to a 5.9 Richter earthquake (May 2006)
Security issues related to tourism in remote mountainous destinations by Dr. Seth Sicroff, Director, Bridges-PRTD; Namche Conference (May 2003) organizer
Discussion Paper for Session II (April 7-11, 2003) of the People, Parks, and Mountain Tourism (PPMT) e-consultation.


Please join and participate in the MountainLegacy Mountain Legacy Google Group. If you wish to suggest materials for this page, or have suggestion for the Web site, contact Seth Sicroff at