Lombok’s Mount Rinjani will be off limits to trekkers for an entire year.
The head of the Rinjani National Park Sudiyono, said it will take that long to repair hiking trails to ensure safe accents to the 3,700 metre peak.
“Many climbing trails are cracked and very dangerous to climbers and it takes about a year for repair works to be done to enable mountain climbing activities to continue,” he said.
It comes as a major blow to the local economy which is heavily reliant on tourism, as Lombok struggles to rebuild after a series of catastrophic earthquakes, and more than 1,500 aftershocks since late July.
The August 5 quake alone killed nearly 500 and wrought devastation on a wide area of North Lombok where Mount Rinjani is located.
Many mountain guides based in Senaru village, which is the main base for Rinjani treks, have already seen their homes badly damaged or destroyed in the first quake, and will be especially fearful for the future with no tourism revenue for at least a year.
Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second highest volcano, is a major draw for travellers in North Lombok.
It is second only to the Gili Islands for tourist numbers, which were also badly hit by the August 5 quake.
Hundreds of climbers were stranded overnight on the mountain when the first earthquake struck and one Malaysian climber died inside a collapsed building.
Sudiyono said plans will be discussed to develop alternative tourism options in the park.
The Rinjani National Park covers a huge portion of North Lombok and has a wealth of soft trekking options such as numerous waterfalls, jungle treks, Sembalun Valley agritourism and even paragliding.
However these have all never been promoted outside the local market and are largely unknown internationally.