(To go directly to TMI’s publications about the Greater Mt. Everest Ecosystem, including Hands Around Everest, click here.)
The Mountain Institute is a non-profit organization established in 1972 with offices in Washington, DC, West Virginia, Nepal and Peru. Its work focuses on three central themes: sustainable economic development in the mountains, conservation of mountain environments, and support for mountain cultures. By listening to the people who know mountains best—the people who live there—TMI helps identify and implement solutions to the challenges that threaten their livelihoods and the health of their environments. Working closely with development agencies, government, academic and technical partners, TMI’s programs now reach more than a quarter of a million people each year. Approaches the Institute has developed are in use in mountainous countries around the world.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, TMI was instrumental in founding Makalu-Barun National Park and Qomolongma Nature Preserve, which in combination with the older Sagarmatha National Park surrounded Mt. Everest with parks while at the same time preserving local livelihoods. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, TMI designed and replicated many community based eco-tourism projects in the Andes, the Nepal Himalaya, the Sikkim Himalaya, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. It continues involvement in various mountain tourism programs. TMI helped develop longer eco-tourism “trails,” including as La Ruta Inca (The Inca Road), The Great Himalayan Trail, and several other “off the beaten track” mountain tourism projects that connect to more developed tourism sites such as the Everest region. TMI designed and field tested eco-tourism methodologies that have been used to train tourism operators in more than 40 countries through several eco-tourism training courses offered by the Regional Community Forestry Training Center (RECOFT) in Thailand.
TMI helped develop a technique called Appreciative Inquiry, an approach that builds on success and looks for positive models as the starting point for community consultations and planning. This was unusual at that time but has become much more mainstream in the last decade.
For more information on TMI’s Himalayan Program, visit www.mountain.org/himalayas.
The Mountain Institute has been supporting conservation and culture in the greater Mt. Everest Ecosystem since the late 1980s, when we began research on what would become the Makalu-Barun National Park and Buffer Zone on the southeastern flanks of the Mt. Everest massif (Nepal), and almost simultaneously, the Qomolongma Nature Preserve on the north side of Everest (TAR).