|photo by Jaga. Hovd river valley 2009|
The Crown of the Mongolia-spanning corners of Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia.The region includes two United Nations World Heritage Sites. One, Uvs Nuur Basin. The second, Golden mountains of Altai. As stated in the UNESCO description of the site, "the region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation". UNESCO also cited n Altai's importance for preservation of the globally endangered mammals, such as snowleopard and the Altai argali, Siberian Ibex also live in these mountains.
No long ago, visitors to remote mountain valleys were likely to be horse-mounted hunters seeking hides and heads as trophies.
|Bear Valley, Altai Tavan Bogd National Park.|
Today's backcountry trekkers are most often birders, fly casters, photographers, writers, researchers or snowshoers. Many of today's year-round residents first came as tourists who, smitten by mountain vistas, returned with their professions or savings-and their urban tastes and expectations.
While global warming and drying continue to define some small communities, demographics are changing rapidly as builders cater to migrants and weekenders who may not be aware of how their choices impact the traditions of local community and ecosystems they came to enjoy.
Along natural coloured valleys and across open foothills, herders, conservationists, and many of the newcomers themselve, are joining to sustain working ranchlands, clear streams, and free ranging wildlife. Increasingly, those fortunate enough to visit in the Crown of the Mongolia are seeking less o dominate the landscape than to find a personal harmony with it.
Quotation: David Thomas, writer, Fernie, BC