The catchment area of Penawan is a land of beautiful waterfalls with rich flora and fauna, and has been supplying foods to the Lun Bawang communities of Kampung Penawan, Pa’Puti, and Pengalih for generations. Traditionally we acquired fresh water, collected fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs, and hunted wild animals for subsistence. The Penawan catchment has been so important to our communities that the people of Penawan decided to move to the sister villages of Pa’Puti and Pengalih in order to leave the catchment solely as our nature garden.
However since the 1970s, illegal logging encroached into Penawan, to the point that we could not carry out our traditional activities on our ancestral land anymore. The last big trees were logged in the 2010s, before our people decided enough is enough. In year 2014, Mr. Yusuf Tai (Joseph) returned from Kuala Lumpur to tend to his then-sick father Mr. Tai Baru (our late head of Penawan). At the same time, Joseph led the people of all three villages, to form Koperasi Kota Penawan Lawas Berhad (Kota Penawan Lawas Cooperative Ltd) in order to safeguard our ancestral land.
The main missions are to protect water catchment of the Penawan rivers including its beautiful waterfalls with rich flora and fauna for our future generations. And by creating relevant jobs and business opportunities, we will be able to improve the livelihood of surrounding communities.
Penawan Waterfalls Eco Park – beautiful waterfalls with rich flora & fauna
One of the first products of our cooperative is the Penawan Waterfalls Eco Park, opened to public in June 2015. This park encompass the two main rivers of Penawan, Tuped (Lun Bawang: steep) and Telubid (slope). The steeper Tuped has ten tiers of impressive waterfalls, and gaining popularity among the locals in north-west Borneo. Meanwhile the gentler, but longer Telubid, was the last area being logged in the 2010. Since early 2019, ecologist M.S. Khoo started to survey Telubid and discovered a great diversity of wildlife. With his advice, we work towards gazetting the whole catchment as a reserve, and learn how to restore logged forest with the help of sustainable business like eco-tourism and agroforestry. It is also in our plan to implement permaculture, in place of the conventional monoculture, in order to help increase and maintain diversity on our traditional farm land.
We welcome you to stay with us, challenge yourself with the waterfalls along Tuped, and experience our food and hospitality. Experience the best of nature adventure in the land of waterfalls through activities like waterfall hiking, river trekking, camping, etc. as well as through our survey and conservation work.