One of the ways to enjoy Mount Semeru in East Java is by camping at Ranu Kumbolo, one of the base camps in the area.
Famous for its lake with turquoise blue water and surrounding green hills, the spot is popular with travelers and trekkers. However, fame has also brought pollution to the area.
The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park board (TNBTS) has evaluated the rules for those who camp at Ranu Kumbolo, and imposed new rules last Saturday.
Below are some of the new rules, as compiled by Kompas.
1. Camping area
As in previous years, the area is located at the savanna near the fourth post, near the shelter behind the hill encircling Ranu Kumbolo.
“Please pick a spot there. Do not erect tents outside the area, as there are some places considered sacred by the villagers,” said Sukaryo, one of the volunteers with the TNBTS.
2. Restrictions for erecting tents
There are clear restriction points for tents, with a minimum 15-meter distance from the lakeside to minimize pollution.
“It is not uncommon to find people throwing food into the lake, saying they are feeding the fish. But fish have lived in the lake for hundreds of years on their own, there is no need to litter,” Sukaryo said.
Washing is allowed by the TNBTS, if it is done at least 15 meters from the lakeside.
Travelers are required to dig holes in the ground should they have food waste, so that the waste can naturally decompose.
Sukaryo suggested the following, “If you need to wash utensils, take water from the lake using mineral water bottles. Do not directly wash utensils in the lake, as they are usually stained with oil that can pollute the lake.”
4. Showering and bathroom basics
Travelers are required to find a place at least 15 meters away from the lakeside.
They are allowed to use the newly installed toilets at Ranu Kumbolo, though the facilities are not yet equipped with running water. Travelers are welcome to take water from the lake.
5. Swimming and bathing
One of the old rules still enforced is that swimming and bathing in the lake are not allowed. This is because the lake has a depth of 28 meters with extreme temperatures.
“The temperature is unpredictable. In 2005, when two couples swam in the lake, they suffered cramps and then drowned. They were found dead three days later,” said Sukaryo.
6. Lighting a fire
Another thing off limits is lighting a campfire, especially given the declining number of trees in the surrounding areas of Ranu Kumbolo.
TNBTS provides a safe place to light a campfire near the shelter, a place for travelers to meet and socialize.