Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hells Gate will not be renamed, says KWS

By NATION CORRESPONDENT

The Hells Gate National Park will not be renamed despite the recent tragedy, the director of the Kenya Wildlife Services has said.

Dr Julius Kipng’etich said changing the name of the park is not only a long and tedious process, but it would also remove the mystique of the place.

This would lead to a reduction of the number of tourists visiting the area.

“Everyone wants to know why the park is named after hell and many visit to find out,” Dr Kipng’etich said.

Naivasha leaders have been demanding that KWS rename the park following a series of tragedies that have occurred at the facility in the last few years.

Last month, seven people from Nairobi’s PCEA Mukarara Church perished after they were swept away by flash floods at a gorge in the park.

The name of the park is derived from the gorge and was coined by a visitor who toured the place in the 1880’s and said it looked like a gate leading to hell.

Naivasha MP John Mututho had proposed that the park be renamed “Happy Valley” saying that the current name depicts fear.

However, Dr Kipngetich said that the gorge also has other attractions like rock climbing and bicycle riding.

“The name is also gazetted and changing it is not easy,” said the director.

He was speaking at the launch of the KWS annual wheelbarrow race at Hells Gate on Wednesday.

The wheelbarrow race aims to raise an estimated Sh20 million for the establishment of an education centre in the park.