Wilderness in Julian Prealps Natural Park, Italy

The European Wilderness Society just returned from a first visit to discover the Wilderness potential in Julian Prealps Natural Park in Italy. During the 2-day visit, we met with representatives of the Park’s management and explored different areas of the Park. The conclusion of the first visit is clear. There is a great potential for Julian Prealps Natural Park to certify a big part of the ‘natural zone’ as Wilderness. This creates the opportunity to become a Partner in the European Wilderness Network.

Please also read: Wilderness in Italy

The Julian Prealps Natural Park lies in the northeastern corner of Italy, bordering Triglav National Park in Slovenia. Together, both parks form a Transboundary Park already for many years. In fact, the first contact with Julian Prealps Natural Park we made during a conference for Transboundary Parks in 2018.

First wild impressions

The European Wilderness Society met with the management in the Park’s headquarters in Prato di Resia. The Park was represented by Mr. Santi (director), Mr. Beltrame (president), and Mrs. Comuzzo (external consultant). During the first meeting, the Park management presented the Park Management Plan in a detailed way. Already there it became clear that the vision of Julian Prealps Natural Park aligns largely with the Wilderness principles. Afterwards, European Wilderness Society explained the aim and goal of the European Wilderness Network, and vision for potential cooperations.

Next up, the European Wilderness Society and Park management visited several wild spots in different regions of the park. Hereby, we got a first impression of the potential Wilderness. Due to snowy weather the visibility was limited. Nevertheless, it provided unique views on freshly sprouting beech trees in a white landscape.

Wild rugged mountains

The following day, the European Wilderness Society spent a full day out in the field to assess the potential Wilderness. The weather cleared, thus stunning views on the wild inaccessible and rugged mountains appeared. The first destination was in the lower part of the Park. Afterwards, a second trip went to the mountain top in the higher elevated part. The day concluded with a drive to the southern side of the park. Here we witnessed some of steepest rugged mountains in the Park.

The European Wilderness Society concluded that the visible decades-long commitment of the Park, as well as work done in the past, provide a great chance for Julian Prealps Natural Park to become a part of the European Wilderness Network. The Park and European Wilderness Society agreed to discuss the next steps for cooperation and start making plans.

The European Wilderness Society visited the neighbouring Triglav National Park multiple times. Also, we had a first glance on the potential Triglav Wilderness. Because both Parks closely collaborate, and both hold a great potential for Wilderness, the European Wilderness Society hopes that Julian Prealps Natural Park and Triglav National Park can become a transboundary Wilderness to support the European Wilderness Network.

We are pleasantly surprised to find such a piece of Wilderness in an area that has the label of Nature Park. It shows the commitment and dedication of Julian Prealps Natural Park to preserve and protect this wild area.

Vlado Vancura
Wilderness Director – European Wilderness Society

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