slovak wilderness struggle
Founded in 1949, Tatra National Park (TANAP) is the oldest national park in Slovakia and the former Czechoslovakia. It was created to protect the large coniferous forests, alpine meadows, glaciers and many endemic species of plants and animals. It is home to the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica), plus marmots, bears, wolves, lynx, deer and several birds of prey. Intrepid group leader Tomas Palenik shares with us his concerns about the future of this spectacular region and suggests a way we can help…
“In my role with Intrepid, I visit the Tatry mountains regularly with groups of people from around the world. These people travel here because of the uniqueness of an environment that never disappoints. I am proud that I can guide visitors through my country, its mountains and wilderness. For these reasons I find it unbelievable that there is a plan for so-called ‘development’ that does not respect the protection of nature and is not based on the real values of the region.
This year the Ministry of Environment has prepared a proposal of changes that will reduce protection for around 10 per cent of the Park’s area. Their reclassification for protection of several highly sensitive areas allows for the felling of forest to build new ski-resorts, the construction of hotels and the expansion of existing resorts. From my knowledge, the proposal has been prepared without the input of any scientists or nature conservation organisations and local citizens. The Ministry only appear to be listening to the entrepreneurs.
Comments submitted by non-government organisations and universities about the proposals have been ignored, therefore they have started an international petition to gain support. The aforementioned plans set us back in time in the protection of the nature and allow the devastation of the most precious places. Please help me to stop the selfish interests of a small group of people and give us the opportunity to have a walk in the wilderness in the future. Please sign this international petition. I hope that one day we will have a walk together in the Tatry mountains and I will still be proud of my country and its nature.”