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We would like to congratulate our Ukrainian partner, Carpathian National Nature Park, with the successful completion of the project “Save Huk Waterfall Trail” which was possible due to park and local NGO “Eco-play” representatives, local community and under the financial support of USAID with assistance of the Peace Corps Ukraine.

From ancient times until present day, natural landscapes of the Carpathian National Nature Park have been attracting many visitors by its fabulous beauty. The Huk Waterfall is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Park. The waterfall is the final point of the nature discovery trail “To The Huk Waterfall”. A variety of natural landscapes, unique outcrops, streams combined with waterfalls as well as a diversity of plants and animals fascinate visitors along the route.

The nature discovery trail “To The Huk Waterfall” is located near the main motorway of Yaremche – Rakhiv and between two settlements (villages Mykulychyn and Tatariv). Proper functioning of this trail will contribute to sustainable development of adjacent settlements since tourism is the one of the main sources of income for local residents. This trail is also a good reason to research the impact of climate change on ecosystem. The Huk waterfall was created as a result of a flood that occurred in 1969. Another flood, occurred in July 2008, significantly damaged the trail.

The main goal of the project “Save Huk Waterfall Trail” was to increase the capability of local residents to contribute to the prosperity and development of sustainability of their settlements through volunteerism by helping to repair the trail and to demonstrate to community leaders through a two-day training the importance of community mobilization by educating them on volunteerism and fundraising.

Four volunteer actions were performed during August and September 2016 through efforts of local residents and Park employees. All successfully conducted activities of the project were aimed at improving the trail, among them: cleaning the trail and Zhenets River, installation of a new spring and bridges, manufacturing new trash bins, installing new gabion baskets to prevent further landslides as well as repairing the upper path to the waterfall. All these volunteer actions done not only to preserve the natural beauty of the trail but also to increase the capability of local inhabitants to participate in the life of their communities’ as well as the sustainable development of their settlements. The final activity of the project was the training “Volunteer management and fundraising”.

The Carpathian National Nature Park cooperates with the Peace Corps Ukraine, “Community Development” sector. Such cooperation includes both support and assistance in development and promoting ecotourism within the Park’s territory. The key priority of this project is protection and sustainable use of valuable natural complexes and sites. The project also enhanced an important close relationship between the Park, local business and local authority.

European Wilderness Society is also happy to announce that from the beginning of 2017 we will continue our cooperation with Carpathian National Nature Park on wilderness audit, as well as on educational project “Don´t change climate-educate youth!” and on other our great ideas as well!

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Iryna Shchoka is a regional development expert and is based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

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