slovak wilderness struggle

 

tatra national park slovakiaFounded 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.”

 

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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4 comments

Emilie Hagedoorn / Reply

This is just so typical still: despite all the bad examples of protected area management and advice on the development of responsible tourism in national parks, governments still make such bad choices! I will make sure I pass your concerns on to the ICRT at Leeds Met and hopefully some of my RT colleagues will be able to help the cause.

Sadly all over the world this type of projects to save our planet end up being favored towards exploiting areas with “damaging tourism’ instead of supporting harmonious character of these places. Officials take huge part in adding to overall diseaster, this is why even with more aggressive attitutude, we need to support this type of initiatives where we can overrule stupidy and ignorance.

Suzanne McCullough / Reply

Thank you for this information Chris and I have added my name to the petition. It is typical of governments in small poorer countries trying to cash in on the money and not looking at the big picture and its long term effects. Is WWF aware of the situation? Sue

I commend you on taking this initiative to try to save from devastation forever, the beautiful and unique Tatra mountains. I and my daughter walked the Tatras with Intrepid 2007 and we still vividly remember the exceptional experience. To think that this piece of untouched wilderness exists today is marvellous and I can only hope that this beautiful piece of this planet is kept as is for future generations of fauna and humans to enjoy.
Good luck and I shall tell people I know about your cause.
Sincerely, Chris

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