If you plan on visiting the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) sometime this year and walking amid the treetops above the forest floor, you had better do it before July. Because that’s when the famous FRIM canopy walkway is scheduled to be closed down permanently, effective 30th June 2017. The canopy walkway is the main attraction at FRIM, with many visitors stopping for the obligatory snapshot.
According to FRIM, they plan on erecting a new walkway made of aluminium – perhaps similar to the outstanding 347-m canopy walkway in Sandakan’s Rainforest Discovery Centre – that will be safer for visitors and have less negative impact on the trees and environment compared to the current cable walkway, both of which are desirable goals to aim for! The director-general of FRIM, Datuk Abd Latif Mohmod, noted that the current walkway had to be closed from time to time for maintenance and security assessment due to storms in 2015. He also said that the trees in the surrounding area have deteriorated and now need longer to regenerate and recover.
The new walkway, which is proposed to be double the length, is slated to be built within three to five years to permit sufficient time to raise the RM3.5 million required – but if we’re going by ‘Malaysian time’, it will quite possibly take much longer. While all the facts surrounding this closure are not fully known, it seems a bit more foresight and planning would have been nice. Perhaps the fundraising and budgeting for the replacement walkway (and even its construction) could have been initiated several years ago, instead of waiting until the existing walkway is set to be closed to do so.
Though a newer and better canopy walkway will be an asset to FRIM and its visitors, we will nevertheless be sad to say goodbye to this one, weathered and full of character after 25 years of outdoor service, and FRIM will admittedly be a bit less appealing without its star attraction for the next several years.
If you don’t want to wait three to five years (or more) for the new and improved aluminium walkway, you should schedule a trip to FRIM before 30th June 2017. The canopy walkway is usually open from 9:30am to 2:30pm, with the last batch of visitors permitted to enter at 1:30pm. The walkway is closed on Fridays, and you should check FRIM’s website for unscheduled closures before setting out, as these are not uncommon.
Readers, have you enjoyed FRIM’s canopy walkway in the past? Will you make a final visit before its closure? Let us know in the comments below!