Wednesday, December 20, 2017

131th National park created

Last week the 131th National Park became officially established by publishing the Royal Act in the government gazette. The park covers an area of 354 km² of Chiang Mai and Lamphun province. Oddly the Royal Act does not include the name of the park, but an older list of the IDs of the protected areas assigned by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation includes those parks in the process of being established, and thus it was possible to identify this new one to be the Mae Ta Khrai National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติแม่ตะไคร้).

The agendas of all cabinet meetings are searchable online, and with that resource I was able to find that this new park was first discussed in November 2008, and then again in June 2016. I guess the first time was to get the go-ahead on the preparations, while the second was the final approvement to prepare the Royal Act.

According to that ID list there are still another 16 parks pending their creation - but sadly that Excel sheet is  from 2013, so there may be some other changes to that pending list in the meantime. It would be good if the DNP would have an up-to-date version of that list online, and especially not change the values anymore after a protected area became official - there are several versions of that ID list with sometimes different values floating around in long-forgotten parts of their website which only Google can still find. For example, Mae Ta Khrai according to the 2013 list has the ID 9105, however the description of the park on the DNP website uses a PTA_CODE of 9101.

Not being a stable ID is the reason why I haven't yet proposed it to become a property in Wikidata, to further help identifying the protected areas of Thailand. When I rechecked the list of items there to prepare the map below, I found one duplicate entry which was added under its present and a former name separately. The map below should show all of the current and (and least most) proposed national parks as saved in Wikidata.

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