Bukit Ulis, West Kalimantan: The allure of Agrotourism

Cornelis (center) at his ranch atop Bukit Ulis.

By Rangkaya Bada

In Bukit Ulis, Takiung, Landak Regency, West Kalimantan there is an extensive plantation and farming area that belongs to the Cornelis family. More precisely, in English terms, this location is referred to as a ranch.

A ranch is a term often used to describe large farming or livestock properties, particularly in the United States and other countries with strong farming traditions. These ranches are often used for raising livestock such as cattle, horses, sheep, or pigs and may also include agricultural land and forests. These ranches often have very large areas, allowing for various agricultural and livestock activities to be conducted on a large scale.

Let's illustrate the ranches owned by Nixon and Reagan in the United States. Both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were famous U.S. Presidents. Nixon had a ranch located in San Clemente, California, known as "Casa Pacifica." This ranch was a place he often visited during his presidency. At this ranch, Nixon could escape the political hustle and bustle of Washington, DC, and enjoy peace and more relaxed activities like swimming, walking, and contemplation.

Reagan, on the other hand, had a ranch near Santa Barbara, California, known as "Rancho del Cielo" or "Sky's Ranch." Reagan greatly enjoyed this ranch, especially during his presidency. The actor-turned-president often spent time at this ranch, riding horses, tending to his livestock, and enjoying the beautiful natural scenery. Reagan's ranch was also where he contemplated important policies and decisions.

Meanwhile, in West Kalimantan, Cornelis, who served as the Regent of Landak and later as the Governor of West Kalimantan for two terms, owned a personal ranch in Bukit Ulis. This ranch was a significant place in his life and often served as a refuge and recreation area for Cornelis. At this ranch, Cornelis may have planned and thought about various government programs and initiatives, but he could also enjoy the beautiful surroundings and peace away from the political hustle and bustle.

Just like Nixon and Reagan found peace and inspiration at their ranches in the United States, Cornelis may also find reflection and a connection with nature and his political policies at the Bukit Ulis ranch. These ranches provide leaders with a momentary escape from political demands and help them find balance in their leadership while preserving and managing properties of economic and social importance to the local community.

In the context of West Kalimantan, owning a land area of tens of hectares might be considered common. However, having hundreds of hectares of land, as Cornelis did, is extraordinary.

Cornelis's success in owning hundreds of hectares of land in Bukit Ulis did not happen overnight. Instead, it was the result of a long journey involving the gradual acquisition of land. Cornelis may have started with a small piece of land and then gradually expanded his ownership over time.

This process of land accumulation could involve various factors, such as investment, productive plantation and farming development, and effective management skills. Cornelis likely combined his knowledge and hard work to maximize the potential of the land.

It is important to acknowledge that owning such vast land as Cornelis did in Bukit Ulis is an impressive achievement. It not only reflects dedication and great effort but also contributes positively to the local economy and regional development.

Cornelis's success in managing this land can also serve as an inspiration to others who aspire to achieve something similar in the world of farming and plantation in West Kalimantan.

In Bukit Ulis, Takiung, Landak Regency, on a Thanksgiving Day on January 7, 2023, Cornelis addressed the thousands of attendees who came to the New Year celebration event. At the same time, he conveyed the family's political decision.

Cornelis firmly stated his commitment to continue playing a role in politics by running for re-election in 2024. This statement reflects a strong determination to continue the fight and contribute to his role as a representative of the people.

The enthusiastic applause from the thousands of attendees shows that Cornelis has a strong support base. This support can be a crucial factor in his political campaign for the upcoming election and reflects his popularity among the people.

Cornelis's statement refers to the general election in 2024, which is a significant moment in Indonesian politics. The family's political decision to run for re-election in Senayan highlights the belief that he has valuable contributions to offer in the national political arena.

Cornelis is a political figure who has played a significant role in both local and national politics. His decision to continue competing in Senayan indicates that he wants to continue contributing to shaping policies that affect the wider society and the nation.

In the contemporary era, ranches have transformed into captivating agricultural tourism or agrotourism destinations, especially in regions like West Kalimantan, where the natural beauty of the landscape is abundant. These ranches, epitomized by the likes of Bukit Ulis, offer visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the splendor of large, well-maintained plantations.

Bukit Ulis: the allure of agrotourism
Bukit Ulis, with its expansive and meticulously curated agricultural grounds, has become a testament to the harmony between human cultivation and the natural environment. The lush greenery, sprawling fields, and organized plantation areas create a picturesque setting that captures the essence of sustainable agriculture amidst the scenic beauty of West Kalimantan.

The nighttime view at Bukit Ulis, Cornelis's ranch.

Tourists and nature enthusiasts flock to Bukit Ulis to experience the allure of agrotourism. They are not just spectators but active participants in the agricultural activities, gaining hands-on knowledge about farming practices, plantation management, and the cultivation of various crops. Guided tours educate visitors about the intricacies of sustainable agriculture, highlighting the importance of environmental conservation and responsible farming methods.

Visitors are often welcomed with warm hospitality, offering them a chance to engage with the local community and learn about the rich cultural heritage intertwined with agricultural traditions. They can savor fresh produce straight from the fields, appreciating the farm-to-table concept at its finest. Additionally, activities such as fruit picking, guided nature walks, and eco-friendly farming workshops provide an enriching and educational experience for tourists of all ages.

Furthermore, these agrotourism destinations serve as valuable hubs for promoting eco-consciousness and sustainable practices. They inspire visitors to appreciate the delicate balance between humanity and nature, encouraging them to carry the message of environmental preservation beyond their travels.

In essence, ranches like Bukit Ulis exemplify the evolution of agricultural tourism, offering not just a scenic escape, but an immersive and educational experience. They showcase the beauty of sustainable farming, fostering a deep connection between visitors, the land, and the community while promoting the importance of responsible tourism in preserving the natural wonders of West Kalimantan.

Bukit Ulis and its surrounding areas are home to a diverse array of tropical fruits, creating a colorful and flavorful tapestry of nature's bounty. Among these, the durian, known as the "King of Fruits," stands out for its sheer abundance during its season. The fertile lands of West Kalimantan have been generous in producing this unique and exotic fruit, making it a regional specialty.

Cornelis, who served as the Governor of West Kalimantan from 2008 to 2018 and now holds a position as a member of the Indonesian Parliament (DPR-RI), has not undertaken his endeavors for personal gain. Instead, his efforts are rooted in a deep commitment to leaving behind a lasting legacy that extends far beyond himself. His vision transcends individual interests and is driven by a profound dedication to the greater good and the betterment of humanity.

Through his leadership and initiatives, Cornelis has played a pivotal role in promoting the sustainable cultivation of these tropical fruits, including the beloved durian. He has fostered agricultural practices that not only ensure bountiful harvests but also support the livelihoods of countless local farmers. This sustainable approach not only contributes to the regional economy but also preserves the natural beauty and ecological balance of the area.

Cornelis's actions speak volumes about his commitment to the well-being of many. His work has not only made West Kalimantan renowned for its tropical fruit production but has also created opportunities for the local community to prosper. The legacy he leaves behind is a testament to his enduring dedication to the welfare of the people and the broader cause of humanity. 

Cornelis's visionary leadership continues to be a source of inspiration for those who seek to make a lasting and positive impact on the world.

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