Saturday, 19 April 2014

Šumava National Park head to leave his post

29 June 2012

Vimperk, South Bohemia, June 28 (CTK) - Czech Sumava National Park (NPS) director Jan Strasky really leaves the post, Environment Minister Tomas Chalupa said yesterday, confirming the information from Wednesday evening.

Strasky will do so on June 30 and he will be succeeded by NPS deputy Jiri Manek, Chalupa said.

"It is not true that I have decided to dismiss Strasky as written in the media in the past hours," Chalupa said.

"A dismissal is applied if someone makes a mistake. We have jointly agreed on the termination of his contract," Chalupa said, adding that Strasky's work as NPS director was successful.

Chalupa said Strasky had also chosen the right way in the battle against the bark-beetle in the NPS.

The NPS, straddling the Sumava mountain range along the southwestern border with Bavaria and Austria, is the biggest of the Czech Republic's four national parks.

Strasky, 71, has repeatedly come under environmentalists' criticism over his decisions as NPS head.

This April, the Children of the Earth group presented him with the Oil Guzzler mock-prize for what they called his discrediting the NPS in people's eyes.

He also received the Green Pearl mock-prize for the most outrageous environmental-unfriendly statement for his words: "The law is being observed by being permanently violated, but its violations will be authorised by the exceptions it makes possible."

Last summer, environmentalists organised blockades of spruces the NPS decided to cut en masse, in order to prevent a bark-beetle calamity outbreak, in a strictly protected Sumava locality.

Earlier this week, the NPS started to cut trees in the locality again but applied a more sensitive and environment-friendly approach, which has not met with activists' protests so far. In spite of this, the new tree cutting in the Na Ztracenem locality has been strongly criticised by the European Commission.

Strasky headed the NPS since February 2012. When appointing him, Chalupa said Strasky would do the job for 12 to 18 months.

Manek, 40, became NPS deputy director shortly after Strasky's appointment as director early last year. However, Manek worked for the NPS for ten years in the past. In the meantime he ran a biochemical laboratory focusing on researching the gene pool of forest trees.

Manek said he would like to widen the no-cutting zone in the park.

"I'd like to widen it gradually to 35 percent of the area as planned by a prepared bill," Manek said.

At present, the no-cutting zone covers 13 percent of the NPS.

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