Vrchlabi, North Bohemia/Tbilisi, Nov 21 (CTK) – The Czech Krkonose National Park (KRNAP) is to end in 2018 a six-year project in Georgia for eight million crowns to preserve the permanent settlement in the distant Caucasian region of Tusheti, KRNAP deputy director Jakub Kaspar has told CTK.
Krkonose (Giant Mountains) are a mountain range spreading along the Czech-Polish border in east and north Bohemia.
In the project, which is funded by the Czech Development Agency, the KRNAP Administration works together with the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (NCA CR). Its aim is to develop a plan of care for the Tusheti protected landscape area.
“The Tusheti protected landscape area has a new draft care plan, which has been the main output of the project. The document defines a number of measures which are to contribute to the protection of natural as well as cultural and historical values of the area,” Kaspar said.
Kaspar says he believes Tusheti, which is isolated from the rest of Georgia by the main Caucasian ridge, is suffering from locals leaving it.
The effort to maintain a stable settlement by Tusheti’s local population and related recommendations, such as the use of the land for farming, are crucial for the project.
Its coordinator Michael Hosek from the KRNAP Administration said the project, which was to end this autumn, will be extended by about one year.
“We will extend the project, we want to assist in introducing entrance fees for entry into the protected landscape area. There are no entrance fees in protected areas in Georgia, it will be a pilot project which is to bring further funds for natural protection, aside from those from the state budget,” Hosek said.
KRNAP has also focused on the introduction of some points of the care plan into practice, namely the development of infrastructure and the monitoring and processing of local phenomena, which include cultural and architectural heritage sites, as well as the pristine Caucasian ecosystems and a number of endemic species.
The Tusheti protected area extending over 800 kilometres was visited by about 8,000 tourists in 2016, which is four times more than ten years ago.
KRNAP was established in 1963 and it is the biggest national park in the Czech Republic, extending over 55,000 hectares. Along with the Polish national park, it forms the largest protected landscape area in Central Europe.