O. Rafieyan*1, A. A. Darvishsefat2, S. Babaii1, A. Mataji1
Protected areas are major tourism assets for a nation, particularly for developing countries providing sustainable benefit to the local community while funding for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the protected areas themselves. Valley of flowers national park is naturally meant for the conservation and study of western Himalayan flora. It became National park in 1982 and after that livestock grazing ceased and restrictions were imposed on nearby villagers. The valley has an unusually rich flora of over 600 Himalayan species growing in an area of less than 2500 hectares with many rarities. Animals found are nationally rare or endangered. It is also a habitat of endangered Asiatic black beer, brown bear, Himalayan musk deer and snow leopard, blue sheep are rare. The common leopard is reported from lower parts of valley closer to the villages. Local people have also reported evidence of Himalayan brown bear. Other factors that are contributing to ecotourism are beautiful landscapes, peaks, lakes and tarns etc. Because of the heavy influx of tourists and improper management practices the problem of solid waste in increasing at an alarming rate. This paper is an overview of the present ecotourism resources of the area and their future prospects for sustainable ecotourism.