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Krkonoše presents map of permitted ski areas

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The Krkonoše National Park has presented a map of areas where it will be possible to create new slopes and lifts in the coming years without harming the park’s environment.

A commission of experts, set up for this purpose by national park executives, assessed 66 projects. The experts recommended to put 31 proposals in place and to make adjustments to 14 other plans. Twenty one projects should be rejected because their impacts on nature would be too large. The commission did not assess 14 projects that do not pose any threat to rare animal and plant species.

“Krkonoše lacks a long-term policy, based on which development projects would be assessed based on their compliance with environmental protection,” Environment Minister Martin Bursík said. “Now regulations have been set,” he added.

Towns want new ski slopes

Skiing is very important for a future development of local municipalities, said Bursík. The pressure to build new ski slopes, cableways and lifts was the reason why the expert commission was established.

“We are complying with the interests of municipalities and tourists, but in a way that so that the unique nature in Krkonoše is not damaged,” Krkonoše National Park director Jan Hřabačka said.

One of the commission members, a forest expert with an international reputation, Josef Fanta, confirmed that obstructing the development of local municipalities was not the objective of the commission. “But Krkonoše has its limits. It is a small territory, it is not the Alps and cannot be enlarged,” Fanta said.

63 hectares of forest was to fall in Špindlerův Mlýn

The national park cited the planned ski slope expansion in Špindlerův Mlýn as an example of an insensitive encroachment on local nature. According to initial plans, more than 63 hectares of forest was to be cut down there.

“This was unacceptable to us,” national park director Jan Hřabačka said. The commission proposed to adjust the plans so that only 15-20 hectares would be cut down in the end.

The Ministry of the Environment will release on its website detailed information on all of the projects assessed, including the reasons why particular projects have been rejected or recommended for revisions.

Individual project assessment

Environment Minister Martin Bursík said that regardless of the work of the expert commission, even the recommended projects for new ski runs and cableways will be subject to standard assessment procedures based on their impacts on the environment.

“Each individual project will be evaluated,” said Bursík. He added that authorities would also pay attention to the appearance of planned cableway stations and whether they fit well in the mountains.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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