Government clears increased access to natural parks

photo:  (archive of Radio Prague)

Long-term disputes about the future of the Šumava National Park may have finally come to an end. The government on Thursday approved an amendment to the law on nature and landscape protection that should make the Czech Republic’s four main national parks more accessible to tourists. I spoke to the deputy head of Šumava National Park, Martin Starý, and first asked him about the main changes proposed in the new legislation:


“In my opinion the biggest difference is the way of zoning. The amendment suggests that the zonation of the national park will not be connected with the movement and activities of tourists in the area as it used to be in the past but it is more connected with the nature management of the zones.

“I think this is a much better way of ensuring the long-term development of the management of the area.”

Does that mean that tourists will be allowed to visit even the first most protected zones?

“Not directly. The proposal also includes so-called silent zones, where activities are restricted. The biggest difference is that these two very important tools of nature protection are applied side by side.

“In other word, the zones of silence are established along with the zones of nature protection. That means that some of the areas, which are not as sensitive in terms of animal and biotope protection, will be open for the public also outside the marked paths.

“It is very important for us to let the people go outside the roads and let them experience the nature outside the trails.”

So as a representative of the Šumava National Park do you welcome this change? Would you say that it enables undisturbed nature development and at the same time allow more people to visit the park?

“Definitely. It allows us to give the tourists a chance to experience the nature where they previously didn’t have access.

“The legislation follows the same trend of nature protection as we see on the German side of the Šumava mountains, it in the Bavarian Forest National Park.

“They have a similar way of zonation, which is focused mainly on the management in the nature zones. In the most strictly protected zones, people are not allowed to interfere.

“And as far as accessibility for tourists, they also follow the same path as we do.”

One of the most significant changes is that the newly introduced zones can be changed only after 15 years. What is this measure good for?

“That can ensure the stability of the general direction of nature protection in the national park management. In my opinion, the stability of the management is one of the most important of nature protection.”

And finally, there has been a long-term dispute about the future of the Šumava National Park. Do you think this can bring an end to that dispute?

“I hope so. I think it always it is always about the discussions with the mayors of the municipalities and with the representatives of the local people. But I think this new law will contribute to a greater stability in the park and it will bring better nature protection and better relationships of the locals and representatives of the national park.”

Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
Added: 15.05.2015

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