Křivoklát region to be declared national park
The Ministry of Environment has announced plans to declare the Křivoklát region, south east of Prague, a national park. While conservationists welcome the proposal, the locals oppose it, fearing unwanted restrictions and an influx of tourists.
The hilly region of Křivoklát with its deep spruce forests has enjoyed the status of a Landscape Protected Area since late 1978. However, conservationists have long called for an even stricter protection of the area, arguing that it is necessary for maintaining its valuable biodiversity, says František Pelc of the Czech Association for Nature Conservation:
“The area is valuable mainly because of the rich geomorphology of its terrain and the diverse forests that have been relatively untouched by human activity. Increased protection of the area is therefore entirely appropriate, because the current Landscape Protected Area status doesn’t provide sufficiently comprehensive care.”
The Landscape Protected Area of Křivoklát, which lies on the western edge of the Central Bohemian region, covers an area of 628 square kilometres and is home to dozens of endangered species, such as the black stork, the spotted newt and red lark, and plants such as the white moss.
Under the proposal of the Environment Ministry, some 16 percent of the area, that is 102 square kilometres, will be turned into a national park.
The park should avoid built-up areas as much as possible. The only settlement located within its boundaries would be the village Karlova Ves.
But unlike conservationists, the locals are sceptical about the idea of a national park, arguing that it will restrict their movement and bring even more tourists to the area. František Pelc says there is no reason for concern.
“The creation of a national park will not significantly restrict the movement of the local people. In national parks, there are so-called no-go zones, where people are allowed to move only along marked trails, but they are defined by the park administration in cooperation with local municipalities.”
Mr Pelc adds that in seventy to eighty percent of the area of the new national park, movement will not be restricted in any way, so mushroom pickers don’t have to worry about losing their favourite sites.
He also says that declaring the area a national park will have no effect on the number of tourists heading to the location.
“We have been monitoring the development of tourism in various protected areas and the number of tourists has been increasing in recent years regardless of the type of protection.”
There are currently four national parks in the Czech Republic, the Krkonoše National Park, which is the oldest, as well as Šumava, Podyjí and Bohemian Switzerland.
In the future, Moravian Amazon, an area along the lower part of the Morava and Dyje Rivers in the south of the country, could also be turned into a national park.