Wadi Degla – Mohammed Said –Wikimedia commons
CAIRO – 28 April 2018: The Ministry of Environment confirmed that LE 70 million will be funded for the development of the Wadi Degla and Petrified Forest nature reserves.
The government started to develop the Wadi Degla, Petrified Forests and Wadi El Rayan reserves. Ahmed Salama, head of the Ministry of Environment’s protection sector, said that the second phase of developing the reserves will begin after completing the engineering designs with a budget of about LE 70 million.
Salama added that the second phase will include an interactive geological museum and opening a visitors’ lounge on the eastern part by establishing a side road from Ain Sokhna in coordination with the Armed Forces. This comes in conjunction with the development of the following Sinai reserves: Abu Gallum, Nabq, Saint Katherine, Ras Muhammed and Taba.
Wadi Degla - Egypt - CC via Wikimedia Commons/Wael Fouda
The head of the protection sector noted that the developments have contributed in changing the form of the reserves, especially after providing services to visitors, either through signs or geological and botanical information. He pointed out that Cairo’s reserves have been visited by about 60,000 visitors each year.
In the beginning, the ministry worked on removing encroachments in the reserves of Wadi Degla, Wadi El Rayan, Nabq and Al Asyooti. These reserves had been damaged by individuals. To avoid more damage, security companies have been assigned to protect the reserves 24 hours a day.
Water falls in El-Rayan village, Fayoum protectorate - CC via Wikimedia Commons/Rowayda Abdelgwad
On the other hand, Salama revealed that the ministry is conducting an inventory of 14 districts and studying their nature to determine the validity of being declared natural reserves. He mentioned that the plan of these areas dates back 21 years ago to 1997, which means that it is possible there might be changes in some of the reserves.
Salama clarified in special remarks to Youm7 that the areas are el-Maghara, Ras Al Hikma, Wadi Qena and Wadi Gerafi, among others. He added that the areas are being reviewed to declare what works are needed to provide protection for the natural resources and to maintain ecological balance.