Sumava National Park to open its forbidden zones to public

Šumava

Sumava National Park is one of the Czech Republic's last remaining untouched nature reserves. It stretches some 120 km across south-western Bohemia along the German border and has not been accessible to the public for years. First because of the Iron Curtain during the communist days and later for reasons of nature conservation, when it was declared a national park in 1990. Now, however, the new management of Sumava National Park has announced a new plan to make the "forbidden zones" accessible to public. I asked the park's spokesman Radovan Holub why the park decided to open up.

Sumavske lesy
"I would like to say first that it's a future. It will not happen today or tomorrow. The opening of the core zones will be relatively slow and it can take years, before these core zones will be opened. Basically it's a philosophy of the national park to preserve wild nature and to show it to the people."

Isn't it risky in terms of nature protection to let people in these zones?

"No, because you must reckon how many foresters there are still in the core zones. They fight against the bark beetle. So there are cars there. There is traffic, but no traffic of tourists. So this balance should be improved."

Why is it important to let people see theses places that were enclosed in the past?

"Because behind the iron curtain, now close to the border area of the Sumava National Park there is well-preserved nature, which is showing something else than other parts of the national park. Especially these core zones close to the border are not accessible for the tourists. And we want to change it. We want to show tourists what happens here. How nature helps itself fighting against bark beetle, floods and other problems. Shortly that nature can stand without men just by itself."

Will this be limited to a certain time of the year or can people visit it all year long?

"No, we think this should be possible only during summer months, lets say from August to the end of September. But it will not be possible to make it during spring because of protection of nature."

When will the first opening take place?

"I am not a prophet and I know that it's a long journey. I am a bit sceptical - not about the policy of the National park Sumava but about scientists who will not be happy about the opening of all these places. So some kind of balance should be done in the foreseeable future."

So we shouldn't rejoice just now. It is too early...

"I think so, but the project is here and let's hope that it will happen. Let's hope it will happen next year."