Permission and Access

Dave Checkley

The story of Kalimantan

Getting permission for a recent expedition as an example of what can be involved - a difficult case.

Mulu Expeditions - Borneo
Where it all began, are there other areas in Borneo like Mulu?

1991 Recce
Colin Boothroyd travels alone in the forest and is lost for a week. He hears of birds nesting activity in the centre of the island

Book from Alan Weight
The book A Stroll through Borneo describes burial caves in the centre of Borneo near to our planned area of interest. We decide to try to visit both sites.

1992 Contact Dr. Ko
Ko who is head of the Indonesian national caving body - FINSPAC. We explain our plans and ask for the support of the national body.

1993 FINSPAC Support
Dr Ko writes a letter of support. He suggest a meeting with the Director of tourism in Jakarta to obtain a letter of support. To help with this we send Dr. Ko: He writes with these requesting support on our behalf.

Visit Dr. Ko
The advance party visits him in Jakarta on the way out to Kalimantan. They collect the letters of support.

Visit Samarinda
The advance party visit the region capital and discusses the plans with the Director of Tourism. He writes a letter of recommendation to the social police SOSPOL. We take this letter to SOSPOL and they agree to help. They write us letters of support to be presented to the Camats (mayors) in the principal towns in the areas we wish to visit.

We show the mayors the letters in the two areas and they are helpful.

End of permission
We leave the bureaucrats behind and head up river into the interior of the Island of Borneo.

Negotiating access
with the local farmers and hunters

Show letters to head man
In the tiny villages nearest to the caves.

Picture books
of our previous exploits help to explain our interest in the caves

Explain our interest
to the people since they have never heard of going into caves just for fun. They find it hand to understand and are often suspicious and believe we after gold or their binds nests. Binds nests are worth as much as gold on a weight for weight basis and taste of nothing at all. We are cautious about caves used as tombs and do not wish to enter them without the OK from the people.

Local PR
We take Polaroid photos; show picture postcards of Manchester, give the children toys and try to explain to everyone what we are doing.

Train in SRT
Useful for the birds nesters and demonstrates that we have real cave skills.

Employ guides
We work closely with our guides and take them in the caves so they will gain a real understanding of our sport.

Follow up
Is essential.

Report sent
To FINSPAC and many local people.

Guides/ books
We write to these and they put the names of people add places in. This will help to promote tourism and bring money to our helpers

What was the process
Review what was done to gain permission and access for the Kalimantan expedition.

Books, talking to cavers, writing to Indonesia, looking at maps etc.

Colin went alone without any formal permission. He had no caving gear and was simply a tourist

Apply for permission

In Indonesia cavers are the key to government permission.

Advance party
Finalises the permission and other plans and visit the required government and police bodies.

Chain of command
Our letter from the Director of Tourism in central government is used to obtain the OK from the regional government and so on down to the village head man

Local goodwill - Access
Access is much more a matter of communication and winning over the understanding and interest ,of the local people.

Follow up
This is vital

Basic Messages

Back to Expedition Seminar