Corbett National Park, earlier known as Hailey National Park, is India’s first National Park. It was established in the year 1936 by the then Governor of U.P., Sir Malcolm Hailey and was named as Hailey National Park after his name.
After independence the park was renamed as Ramganga National Park and finally in the year 1957 it was again named as Corbett National Park after late Jim Corbett.
Jim Corbett was a naturalist, wildlife lover,author and photographer. He spent a major part of his life in this region and helped in demarcating the park’s boundaries and setting it up. The Conservation scheme “Project-Tiger” was launched here in the year 1973 to secure the preservation of tigers and the park became part of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Corbett National Park is situated in the Nainital districts of Uttarakhand and is spread over an area of 521 sq. km. the nearest town from the park is Ramnagar at a distance of 3 km. Ramnagar is connected with New Delhi and Lucknow by overnight express trains. The nearest airport is Phoolbagh (Nainital) at a distance of 80 km. Ramnagar is 240 km from Delhi by road and 290 km by train. Visitors can also reach Haldwani and Kotdwar railway station and then travel to Ramnagar by road.
This land of Jim Corbett with which many tales and legends are associated is considered the haven of nature lovers. It harbors sizable population of Bengal tigers and is also known as land of tigers.
This park extends to the toot hills of the magnificent high hill ranges of outer Himalayas in the north, covers the plains along the banks of the river Ramganga and flat meadows of tall savannah grass known as “chaurs” merging with shivalik range of the south. The river Ramganga is the lifeline of the park which passes through the park traversing a length of 40 km from Marchula, where it enters the park, to Kalagarh, where it emerges out of the park. Construction of a dam across Ramganga at Kalagarh has led to the formation of a man-made reservoir spread over 82 sq. km half of which is in the park. Khair-sissoo thrives in revirine areas while sal forests are found in the hilly slopes and ridges with other mixed species. Thus trees, bamboo, shrubs and grasses make the park a lush green and vibrant eco-system and an ideal habitat for diverse fauna, and reptiles.
The mammals found in the park are wild tiger, elephant, leopard, leopard, jungle cat, hog deer, sambar, barking deer, chital, goral, wild bear, nilgai, sloth bear, otter, civet, mongoose, hare, morten, etc.
There are more than five hundred species of birds. Common birds seen here are herons, ducks, egrets, snipes, spotted eagles, woodpeckers, harriers, darters, eagles, cormorants, etc. King cobra, python and monitor lizard are also found.
Tourist season for the park is from mid-November to mid-June. Forest rest houses, cabins, log huts, cottagers are available for the stay of tourists in the park. Tourists can also stay outside the park in hotels and private lodges.