The observation tower overlooking the picturesque Darvel Bay is set to be a new attraction for the district, which is already serving as the gateway to key natural attractions like Tabin and Danum Valley.
At 880m above sea level, Mt Silam is the highest point in Lahad Datu and forms part of the Sepagaya Forest Reserve. The observation tower was built by the State Forestry Department.
Its Director, Datuk Sam Mannan, also announced the recent publication of a pamphlet that will serve as a quick guide to the natural wonders of Mt Silam.
"The guide provides an overview of the different forest types found in Silam and the rich and unique plants and animals that they support.
In the pipeline is an interpretation centre as well as a two-kilometre nature trail to the summit of Mt SilamÉthis facility will further enhance the role and the capacity of the Forestry Department in catering to nature education," he said.
The tower construction was funded by the Federal Government at a cost of RM1.8 million, under the RM1 billion economic stimulation allocation to Sabah.
Mannan also showed a pocket booklet recently published by the department entitled Birds of the Heritage Amenity Forest Reserve.
It is a photo compilation of 48 bird species commonly observed within the 7-hectare man-made forest surrounding the Forestry Department headquarters in Sandakan.
"When greening work began in 2002 to convert this former rubber plantation to a forest patch of mixed species, birds were far from mind.
As this planted forest grew in stature, the increasingly active bird life caught my attention," he said.
Today, the seven-hectare Heritage Forest comprises 137 largely native tree species.
"As more and more natural habitats disappear, such small patches of forest are becoming increasingly important oases for birds to nest, breed, take shelter, and feed," he said.