Most of the remaining Upper Guinean Rainforest is found in Liberia. Two protected forest tracts, Sapo National Park in the Southeast and Gola Forest National Park in the Northwest, have been set aside to protect flora and fauna in Liberia.
88,000 hectares of forest were set aside in 2016 to create Gola Forest National Park, in Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties. The process of demarcating boundaries has begun this year, creating controversy with mining, lumbering and bush-meat hunting operations in and around the park. Gola Forest National Park will be linked to the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone, creating a unique transboundary Peace Park covering over 2,000 km².
According to Joel Cholo Brooks, Liberian journalist (October 3, 2016 Global News Network: Liberia), the forests in Liberia contain over 2,900 different vascular plants, including 225 tree species. Also on the list, 600 species of birds, [500?] mammal [is probably closer to 50 mammal species] and 75 reptile species. Many are currently endangered, including the Pygmy hippopotamus, forest elephant, chimpanzee, zebra duiker, bongo forest antelope, and all crocodile species.
Some of the forest remains virgin, and some has been previously logged. Gola Forest is a region of rock-studded hills and valleys, crossed with streams and rivers that flow even in the dry season.
A park fee of $30US per person will allow entrance into the park. A guide is also necessary, and usually at least two are arranged, for approximately $10US per guide, per day. Camping facilities are rustic. Tent-camping at the edge of the park is available. Food, water, charcoal, and sleeping arrangements are the visitor’s responsibility. Finding someone to cook meals for you (and your guides) can usually be arranged at the nearest village.
The drive from Monrovia becomes challenging once you leave the coal-tar road. It is approximately eight hours on dry season roads to get to Gola Forest National Park. Past Tubmanburg, the road turns to gravel with some of the hills covered in rocks. Crossing Lofa Bridge is not for the faint of heart, as are the numerous (and in varying states of decay) stream crossings of log and plank design. In a few cases, the bridges have collapsed altogether, requiring a deviation through the stream bed. A full tank of fuel, a sat-phone, and provisions of food and water will ease the stress of backcountry travel.
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