|Date||1 Dec 2010|
The Carpathian Mountains comprise Europe’s last great wilderness with two-thirds of the continent’s remaining brown bears, wolves and lynx, and many endangered plants and animals. The Gorgany Mountains in western Ukraine lie within the most remote portion of the Carpathian’s span within the country, and threats exist that could devastate its wilderness integrity. First is a priority in Ukrainian policy of economic development over values such as conservation. Second is a chronic lack of government funding for designated conservation areas. Third is the proposed expansion of the Bukovel ski area, which is soon to be among the twenty largest ski areas in the world.
Plans to expand Bukovel include building a road through the core conservation zone of the Gorgany Nature Reserve. The planned road would catastrophically affect the nature reserve as it would mean moving the boundaries of the core conservation zone and opening up the wilderness for more activities, including construction. This project will rehabilitate 40 km of abandoned forest pathways and refurbish two mountain huts, thus providing an ecologically friendly means to sustainable economic development. Through media campaigns and visitor experiences, it will sustain a constituency to advocate for long-term support.
This project is capable of developing an advocacy constituent base for the Gorgany that will initiate the change that is necessary to preserve endangered plants and animals into the future. Sustainable development is development that meets the present needs of society without comprising the ability of the environment to meet the needs of future generations. Responsibly designed tourism into protected areas can provide communities in a region with a sustainable source of economic and social benefits while retaining the wilderness values. Our public education and environmental campaigning will stimulate and inform people about specific flora, fauna, and nature conservation thereby developing more environmental awareness and consciousness.
Replications of our partnership will have the ability to preserve environmental and ecological resources on other lands within Ukraine far into the future.
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