The short answer is in the Retezat National Park, Romania!! Why? Because despite of centuries of human impact all over the Carpathian Mountains the largest unfragmented piece of wilderness can be still found in this park! It is because of remoteness, difficult access, wild terrain and missing infrastructure!

Large, wild mountainous knot in the Southern Carpathians was for decades subject of economic pressure. But despite of that, the area is still maintaining its specific wildness feeling, beauty and attractiveness! The area is still impacted by forestry and summer grazing of the alpine meadows. The largest devastation was caused in the 80-ties by massive construction of water dam right in the middle of this fabulous mountain knot including Retezat, Tarcu and Godeanu Mountains.

Retezat National Park is the first Romanian national park, and definitely protects the area of national and international importance.  The size of the park is 38,138ha and despite of very pure, let’s says only symbolic protection in the past decades it still host the largest and the most un-fragmented piece of wilderness all over the Carpathians Mountains! Because of this the area was in the last years an internationally recognized as an important area to protect last fragment of the Carpathian Wilderness Heritage!

The current management significantly improved management standard but many challenges persist! The area (even internationally recognized important wilderness)  is under the pressure of the seasonal traditional extractive use such as sheep and cattle grazing in the alpine zone when animals herds are passing the wilderness area to get to the summer pastures.

To support the park management particularly in a field of wilderness conservation and motivate park managers to maintain their international quality standard is a fundamental ambition of the European Wilderness Society. The wilderness of the Retezat National Park is on the European Wilderness society  priority list together with the international wilderness audit. This step can reconfirm the uniqueness of  this piece of wilderness.

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Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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