Albania is considered as a significant portion of the last piece of large scale wilderness in Europe!
A short glimpse from the outside can create a feeling that finally at least in this country a large piece of real European wilderness can be secured. Several protected areas have been established in the past years to create conditions for longterm protection of biodiversity and natural values of this country. However, a closer look at the situation reveals that only limited interest was expressed to protect the most important heritage of this country – Wilderness.
Catherine Bohne from the locally-based NGO “TOKA (The Organization to Conserve the Albanian Alps)” works in close cooperation with a handful of other passionate Albanian environmental experts and non-profits including “INCA” and the “Ilyria” organization of forestry expert Abdulla Diku (among others), as well as respected international authorities like WWF, to raise awareness about the need to protect this European treasure of biodiversity. Until now, this area has been protected by neglect – there was simply no way to get to it – but as infrastructure and economy improve there is a race to change perceptions of value in Albania, and raise international awareness, to ensure that these areas are recognized as the incredibly precious wilderness treasures that they in fact are.
Catherine’s writing provides a nice summary of the situation in this country at the example the Valbona Valley National Park. Her text is an evidence of this challenging and contradictory time.
Here is just a small example from her text:
Valbona Valley National Park is located in the remote mountains of Northern Albania, where over 8,000 ha was designated to protect the land – arguably one of the most wild Europe’s areas with the remarkable biodiversity.
On September 28 2016 bulldozers moved into Valbona Valley National Park, and began the work of cutting access roads across the face of three separate virgin areas…”
Sad, isn’t it?
The all article can be read here:
Valbona Valley NP. Photo Falko von Ameln