HISTORIC PRESERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION


A local Ladakhi meticulously restores the 14th century paintings that cover the walls of the recently uncovered Alchi Monastery. Pieces like this are a crucial historical bridge showing the transition of Buddhism from Peninsular India to Tibet. 

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Preserving the rock art of Ladakh is a means to educate the world on the importance of preserving Ladakh's pre-Buddhist history. We work in cooperation with Tashi Dawa and the Ladakh University to disseminate educational materials and lead community events in this region.

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The Indus River is perhaps one of the only reasons the overland silk trade was both possible and profitable. The Indus allowed traders and conquering armies to travel between China and the Middle East, bypassing innumerable dangerous mountain passes. If one follows the Indus in either direction, it is almost impossible not to stumble upon the rock art left by these transient visitors.

Much of Ladakh's rock art has been defaced or completely destroyed. This is mainly due to the importance Ladakhi's place on Buddhist motifs over anything else. This creates a general lack of understanding for the value of these historic places. Educating Ladakhi's on the economic importance of this history will help to preserve and discover these incredible pieces. 

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This piece of rock was cut out and moved to a private residence, highlighting the importance of protecting these sites for future generations. 

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Eco-Tourism is Ladakh's largest industry and offers the opportunity to enrich those living in the remote Nubra and Shyok Vallies through rock art tourism. Currently these local economies are dependent on traditional agriculture and herding. Offering tourists trips to these remote places in order to see their incredible rock art will be a massive economic boon. 

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Eco-Tourism is already a big business in Ladakh. This is great news for protecting this rock art. The demand to visit Ladakh is obviously proven, thus The Lodgepole Group aims to leverage this tourism into trips specifically tailored to visiting Ladakh's rock art. 

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A brief stop taken during our research near Pangong Lake. The hut is built out of stones with an old cotton parachute for the roof. These types of structures are commonplace in the region.  


ALTERNATIVE CASH CROPS


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Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of Opium, which leads to millions of dollars entering the informal economy each year. This disenfranchises Afghan farmers and centralizes wealth and power within a handful of cartels. The Lodgepole Group is working to implement subsidized programs for growing coffee and hemp in order to offer an alternative cash crop that keeps money within Afghanistan. In concert with the successful implementation of mobile money programs, this type of investment will encourage the use of technology, enhance a more democratic distribution of wealth, and offer a sustainable alternative to Opium. 

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 Coffee and Hemp are viable cash crops for Afghanistan's climate, in addition to being far less resource intensive than Opium. Coffee can be exported to almost any country, as there is a constant demand the world over for caffeine. Hemp can enter Afghanistan's formal economy as textiles and building materials. T-shirt makers in China could utilize the raw hemp textiles produced in Afghanistan to create new products for luxury brands in the developed world. 

The Lodgepole Group is pursuing this by implementing subsidized programs for growing coffee and hemp as an alternative cash crop that keeps money within Afghanistan. These investments offer a sustainable alternative to Opium.

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As Afghanistan's largest export, Opium drives revenue and power into the hands of radical cartels. Despite the geo-political and security issues associated with the process, growing Opium in Afghanistan requires risky loans and forced participation in protection rackets. This leaves individual afghan growers exposed to large amounts of violence and financial uncertainty. 

Foreign investment in coffee and hemp as sustainable alternatives to Afghanistan's informal drug based economy will ultimately provide higher household revenues and long term economic stability. This project gives Afghans a unique and low-risk avenue to avoid the common physical and financial pitfalls of growing Opium. Using an extensive local network in concert with the M-Paisa program, we are able to leverage simple methods of micro-financing to help you invest in these farms directly.    


COMBATING A CHANGING CLIMATE


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With very little precipitation and high elevation, the remote northern regions of Pakistan, India, and Baltistan are ripe for innovation. For centuries, village's water sources were directed in basic aqueducts that can be seen hugging mountain sides throughout the region. This type of system is only able to utilize a water source as long as the source is flowing. Due to climate change and unpredictable precipitation cycles, this area has been plagued by drought. Artificial glaciers are Mr. Norphel's solution. 

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The genius in the artificial glacier systems is in its construction. Now a retired civil engineer, Mr. Norphel has designed the glaciers to be built at regular intervals of elevation. This ensures that as the summer heats up, there is water available throughout the season. 

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The Baltistan region spans what is politically claimed to be Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese territories. An eclectic mix of Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, the area is perhaps one of the world's last outposts of true Tibetan Buddhist culture. Travel within the Inner Line and the disputed territories is highly restricted for foreigners, perhaps the only thing keeping the impending influx of tourists and outside cultural influences from disrupting Baltistan's traditions. 

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Since the region is so high and arid, there is almost no vegetation on any aspect of the mountain slopes. As the climate becomes increasingly unpredictable, it leaves these areas at risk for flooding and landslides. In 2010, both the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan and northern India's Ladakh were devastated by catastrophic flash flooding.

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After the floods of 2010, there was an outpouring of money and essential supplies to the region. NGO's, like Save the Children, were quick to respond but ran into massive logistical issues in their distribution process. All too often, Social Outreach Organizations fall victim to these inefficiencies when stated goals of desk-bound execs clash with logistical realities on the ground. The result is massive amounts of lost or misallocated financial and human capital. 

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One of the hardest parts of executing any aid operation is ensuring your money is making it to those who need it most. Most large aid organizations have a large and ineffective gap in real-time data between those on the ground and those in the head office. The Lodgepole Group ensures your money and organization's response to a foreign incident is timely, lean, and effective. Our capabilities include specialized regional knowledge and today's cutting edge GPS, Satellite, and Wireless technologies. 

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Making an investment in the civil infrastructure of this region will be increasingly important as mineral and energy resources start to open. Investment in roads, power, and water resources will be the primary difference maker for the future of geo-political power in the region. 

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The solutions implemented in the developing world to address the changing climate and uncertain political borders are a proving grounds for simple, inexpensive alternatives. Ideas like artificial glaciers could be carried out on a much larger scale in American mountain ranges, allowing for us to utilize largely untapped potential water resources. 


Photos Contributed by Emma Stoner

EPIC TAJIKISTAN


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The current livelihood of Tajikistan's mountain herders is sustained primarily by harvesting wood. The wood is used for basic necessities like cooking and warmth. Due to the extremely poor infrastructure for electricity, Tajikistan's herders have continued to harvest a quickly diminishing amount of sub-alpine wood resources. The end result threatens both the livelihoods of Tajikistan's high alpine herders and the habitats of Tajikistan's endangered species.  

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Tajikistan's natural beauty gives it a unique, and currently unrecognized, opportunity as an exclusive destination for affluent Eco-Tourists. In addition, its massive natural gas and mineral reserves offer the potential for multiple streams of revenue for both foreign investors and local Tajik economies. 

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Tajikistan has incredible water resources that could be leveraged into an attractive package consisting of both micro-hydro installations and micro-finance loans. Working with our international partners, we can eliminate much of the risk as these investment packages can be backed by public and private subsidies. Many of the issues associated with Tajikistan's sub-alpine deforestation could be solved with micro-hydro projects supplying power locally within villages. 

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In addition to infrastructure projects, Tajikistan's Eco-Tourism potential offers some of the best opportunities to see truly untouched landscapes. In this vein, The Lodgepole Group is influential in creating standardized practices of Leave No Trace Ethics and basic concepts of backcountry medicine for travel companies operating in country.

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Tajikistan shares it's southern border with Afghanistan, creating ample opportunity to visit both countries. Which, in combination, offer unparalleled climbing and trekking experiences in the remote Pamir region. 

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By getting involved in conservation efforts aimed at diminishing the negative impacts of human activity in the mountains, we hope to ensure a unique and incredible experience for every trip in the region. 

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With its vast natural resources and unique mix of cultural influences, Tajikistan offers something more for both the discerned traveler and those interested in regional investment opportunities.

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Our team in Central Asia knows how to treat both our Investors and our adventure travel clients to the best of luxury, safety, professionalism, and experience. Feel free to contact us concerning investment or to see what experiences we are currently offering. 


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