New Province of Mountains Papua, the Only Landlocked Province in Indonesia

Arfi Bambani
Former Papua province (Photo: Antara)
Former Papua province (Photo: Antara) - The only province in Indonesia that does not have a maritime boundary was born on June 30, 2022, through the 26th Plenary Meeting of the House of Representatives which approved three Bills on the New Autonomous Region (DOB) of Papua. The name of one of the new province is Mountains Papua Province, which as the name implies, the entire territory is on a mountainous ridge.

The Mountains Papua Province -- covering an area of 108,476 square kilometers -- originates from the expansion of the Papua Province. Until 1999, there was only Papua Province before it was divided into Papua Province with the capital in Jayapura and West Papua Province with the capital in Sorong, the Bird's Head region.

This year, 2022, Papua Province will be divided again to become Papua Mountains Province (capital in Jayawijaya Regency), South Papua Province (capital in Merauke), and Central Papua Province (capital in Nabire). Through the laws, it is stated that the Mountains Papua Province consists of eight regencies. The eight regencies are Jayawijaya Regency which is also the provincial capital, Bintang Mountains Regency, Yahukimo Regency, Tolikara Regency, Central Mamberamo Regency, Yalimo Regency, Lanny Jaya Regency, and Nduga Regency.

In addition, the northern, eastern, southern, and western boundaries of this province are also listed which are not bordered by the sea at all. To the north, the province is bordered by Mamberamo Raya Regency, Sarmi Regency, Jayapura Regency, and Keerom Regency. Furthermore, to the east, the Papuan Highlands Province is bordered by Papua New Guinea, while to the south, the province is bordered by Boven Digoel Regency and Asmat Regency.

Thus, this new province is included in the ranks of provinces in Indonesia that have national borders. In the west, Papua Mountains Province is bordered by Puncak Jaya Regency, Puncak Regency, and Mimika Regency.

However, the fact that this province is the only province in Indonesia that is surrounded by land or landlocked, does not make the Papua Mountains Province lack natural resources. This province is so rich in natural, cultural, and tourism potential that the government can maximize it.

A scientist from Cenderawasih University, Marinus Yaung, also believes in this, as he said by telephone that the majority of Papuan Orang Asli (OAP) or Papuan indigenous people is located in the Mountains Papua Province. Mountains Papua is an area that is not well connected from one district to another, that's how he described the infrastructure situation in the region. Sometimes it takes a plane to move from one district to another.

Therefore, this moment of division can be used by the government to improve the welfare of OAP, especially through infrastructure development that supports various potentials belonging to the Mountains Papua Mountains Province, such as tourism potential. One of them is the location of the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo riding a dirt bike, namely Lake Habema in Jayawijaya Regency, Mountains Papua Province, which is also known as the lake above the clouds.

Lake above the clouds

The government may have to dig deep enough to support development in Mountains Papua Province. However, the final result that awaits is very promising, especially as a source of foreign exchange for the country.

For Yaung, when the transportation support infrastructure has been built perfectly in mountainous Papua, tourists will be spoiled for views that resemble the beauty of the Swiss Alps when traveling by land. Not quite there, he enthusiastically told about Lake Habema covering an area of 224, 35 hectares.

The lake, he believes, is a relic of ancient times. Instead of having fresh water, the lake has salt water and there is a variety of fauna that exist there. He said that the lake is evidence that at the time of Noah mythology, the flood occurred and covered up to the upper region, considering the location of this lake which is at an altitude of 3,225 meters above sea level, which is almost as high as the peak of Mount Semeru on the island of Java which reaches 3,676. meters from sea level.

"This is a sign that there is indeed a flood," he said.

However, without easy access and reliable marketing, the world will never know how beautiful Lake Habema is, let alone know the interesting story that is believed to be the background of the lake's existence. Therefore, he hopes that infrastructure development can support easy access for tourists to Lake Habema.

On the other hand, if you want to see the variety of fauna that inhabit Papua, then the right destination is Lorentz National Park. This National Park is one of the largest national parks in Southeast Asia and is located within the Jayawijaya Regency, Mimika Regency, Asmat Regency, Yahukimo Regency, and Puncak Jaya Regency.

The size of Lorentz National Park is so vast that this national park is not entirely located in mountainous Papua, but can be accessed through the province. Marinus highly recommends this location for those who want to know more about Papua's natural wealth.

Then, for tourists who have the pleasure of enjoying coffee, especially in the midst of cold weather, the enjoyment of the typical coffee of Wamena City, located in Jayawijaya Regency, should not be missed. He said that coffee from Wamena and the Bintang Mountains was even exhibited at the 2022 Specialty Coffee Expo (SCE) organized by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Massachusetts, United States, last April.

Baliem Valley Festival

It would not be complete when talking about the potential of regions in Indonesia without discussing traditions and festivals. If Egypt has mummies, he said, Indonesia also has mummies. The mummy is located in the Baliem Valley in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency.

He said three mummies would be shown at the Baliem Valley Festival which will take place in August. The existence of this mummy is very sacred in the Dani culture. To attend the festival and see the mummy, he estimates visitors will have to pay IDR 300,000.

Quoted from the Indonesian Information Portal, the Baliem Valley Festival has been held since 1989 and continues to be held because it has a positive impact on Papua. This festival usually features war-fighting attractions, cultural performances such as traditional dances, to musical instrument performances.

Mountains Papua Province is a province that is rich in local wisdom, traditions, culture, natural beauty, and natural products. Unfortunately, this beauty is still not fully touched due to the lack of infrastructure development.

Yaung hopes that the division of provinces can help the government to focus on infrastructure development, especially in the mountainous region of Papua, in order to improve the welfare of OAP.

Tag # mountains papua province # papua # indonesia papua

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