The Wilderness Experts Exchange Programme of the European Wilderness Society focuses on exchanging information among wilderness managers and wilderness advocates involved either professionally or volunteers to save European wilderness.

It is our ambition, to facilitate the exchange of wilderness stewardship know-how and experience across Europe. The Wilderness Experts Exchange programme permits several Wilderness Stewards and Experts to visit other Wilderness in our European Wilderness Network and exchange the experience with other wilderness advocates and colleagues.

Max A.E. Rossberg, Chairman of the European Wilderness Society.

“I did not believe, when European Wilderness Society people first time walked in to our office at the end of April 2015 to discuss wilderness  assessment in our park, that they would fulfill their promises so fast. Besides two on-site verification missions this summer, several meetings afterward in Uzhhorod and Ilnica, an invitation to attend the European Wilderness Academy Days in the Nationalpark Gesaeuse, Austria, the awarding of the wilderness certification to our park, working on several project proposals  and become the very first participant of the Wilderness Experts Exchange Programme is a really impressive list of activities… “

Vasil Mochan, former Vice-director of Zacharovanij kraj NP, Ukraine, 14.oct 2015

During the first week of October the European Wilderness Society provided an 8 days expert training program for vice-director of Zacharovanij kraj National Park, Ukraine – Vasil Mochan. Guided by Vlado Vancura, European Wilderness Society Director Wilderness Development, Vasil Mochan received the opportunity to experience first hand how the Kalkalpen Wilderness and Hohe Tauern Wilderness are managed. He was also given the opportunity to present his experience from wilderness management in the Ukraine and particularly in the Enchanted Land NP in Zakarpatie Region!

Besides demanding field work (not always in good weather) this opportunity broadened Vasil Mochan´s already wide spectrum of wilderness management skills and techniques. Visited areas, likely the best managed wilderness in Central Europe, offered Vasil an insight into a wide scale of experience with wilderness management.

During an extensive meeting with  the director of Hohe Tauern National Park, Wolfgang Urban they discussed the specific challenges on how to manage the glacier wilderness at the top of Europe (at the north slopes of peak Grossvenediger 3, 666 meter) in Hohe Tauern Wilderness.

After discussion with Pölz Hartmann, Deputy Director in Kalkalpen Wilderness, Vasil admitted that particularly the issue of ownership rights and complexity of management approaches in these area open a new horizon of knowledge for him…

“It is likely that land ownership will become a very serious issue in our country in the coming years. On one side the current state owned model in my country was to my Austrian colleagues very surprising and deeply appreciated. Several park managers I have had opportunity to meet in the last week encouraged me to maintain this model if possible… On the other hand I have learned how it is possible to protect wilderness in a park where government owns a little bit or almost no piece of land.

The park directors and their colleges expressed also interest to visit the Ukraine in the spring next year and I will be more than happy to support this trip and provide any help to the European Wilderness Society to arrange all logistic and travel details…”

Vasil Mochan, Vice-director of Zacharovanij kraj NP, Ukraine, 14.oct 2015

In a case of interest to learnt more about this program contact: vlado.vancura@wilderness-society.org

All pictures were taken in the Hohe Tauern Wilderness with its glaciers, the Kalkalpen Wilderness with its mixed and large beech forests.

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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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