On Monday 31.7.2017 representative of the European Wilderness Society met with the top management of the Slovak Paradise National Park to discuss Wilderness potential and conditions to become a member of the European Wilderness Network.

Slovak Paradise National Park is situated in the Carpathian Mountains in the middle of Slovakia and protect a unique network of canyons and gorges carved in the limestone plato. The size of the Park is less than 20 000 hectares but has the highest density of tourism trails among all Slovakian National Parks, word unique meadows biodiversity of the higher plant species and permanent population of 3 typical Carpathian predators – wolf, lynx and bear!

The narrow gorges such as Prielom Hornadu or Velky Kysel were protected as strict reserves already since 1964 and provide very good base to become a member of the European Wilderness Network. Further on discussion and donation map revealed an opportunity also to consider Wild River Tomasovska Bela River or even maybe Maly Sokol River as a WILD Rivers. These short rivers ca 7-8 km running through the gorges a river bed seems to be not disturbed by any roads or extractive use. Nevertheless, to make the final decision the field audit is needed to make sure that this area fits to the European Wilderness Quality Standard…

said Vlado Vancura, European Wilderness Society Deputy Chairman.

The last year a new management plan and zoning finally came with the meaningful solution of the challenge how to combine complex mandate of this National park: to protect rich biodiversity, rare karst phenomena and areas of wild nature with requirement of the local stakeholders and land owners.

Management of local people and interest of small scale business providing tourism services is permanent challenge but a great progress was achieved also in this demanding subject.

Management of local people and interest of small scale business providing tourism services is permanent challenge but a great progress was achieved also in this demanding subject.

Besides respecting opinions and demands of local stakeholders, the new management plan also well reflects a hight wilderness potential of this area…

said Ing. Tomas Drazil, Director of the Slovak Paradise National Park.

The area is well know due to famous hiking trails leading through limestone gorges, potential Wilderness zone and provide un-forgetable experience for visitors!

The new borders of the core zone were approved and the size of this zone also increased (more than 1000 hectares, that means one quoter increase of the core zone). I think that majority of the core zone, ca 4500 or 5000 ha, can become a part of the European Wilderness Network…

concluded Tomas Drazil.

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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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