The traditional rights of local people related to the Park were settled in May 1999 through an elaborate procedure, as prescribed in the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972. This has led to the issuance of final notification of the Great Himalayan National Park.
The settlement-of-rights has affected the Park as following:
(i) biological processes, free of most human disturbances, are now bringing positive changes in the status of biological diversity,
(ii) the restrictions on access to the Park area had initial negative effects on the livelihood of the local community: alternative ways and means are now in place to mitigate such effects.
This has had and continues to have a very positive impact on rejuvenation of adversely impacted areas and therefore on the outstanding universal value of the nominated property.
A strategy of active involvement of the local people, in biodiversity conservation, requires enhancing the productivity of village lands. The Great Himalayan National Park Ecozone area is a huge repository of local knowledge, about the uses of the medicinal herbs. Village people know the medicinal plants very well, as has been verified by the research work of the Wildlife Institute of India. While considering their own livelihood options in the post- settlement period, vermicomposting, medicinal herb cultivation, handicraft development, as well as ecotourism are on the priority list.
The Ecozone is an area adjacent to the Park that contains villages (with about 14 to 15,000 villagers) that have historically had some economic dependence on the resources of the land incorporated into the Park. The formal designation of the Park boundaries and the resulting loss of these resources has economically impacted these villages.
In recognition of this adverse economic impact, various programmes have, and are being, developed by the state government of Himachal Pradesh, NGOs, and the villagers themselves, to create alternative sources of economic well-being. Ecotourism, one such programme, offers rewards to both the visitor and the villagers and helps protect GHNP.
The main vehicle to develop such a strategy at GHNP are the Women Saving and Credit Groups (through a micro-credit scheme) developed among women in such households of GHNP’s Ecozone which, before creation of the Park, remained very much dependent on its natural resources, such as medicinal herbs and vegetation for grazing.