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The Norwegian fairy-tale of Strandja-people

reindeers, just around the roadside
Jul 08, 2010
The short, but very bright summer (in some areas in Norway the sun even does not hide behind the horizon at night) is used for maximum close contact with nature - traveling, hiking, hunting, fishing, walking, etc. All ages are active and are outside to take more sunlight (even the working day is reduced during the summer and ends at 15:30 h).

In Norway there are 40 national parks, but for them as well as in Bulgaria, on the agenda is placed the improving of their management. So far they are managed by the Regional administrations and they don’t have specialized management directorates, but fortunately they don’t have our problems. Nobody is thinking even to exclude territories from the parks or to poach. Everyone has access rights, but also obligations. And although it sounds unbelievable - everyone respects them. Of course there is control, but 90 rangers for the whole country are not an impressive power (7 of them are interpreters of nature). In Bulgaria is on opposite - several institutions share the duties and responsibilities, and mostly those responsible for security and control of the territory relating with poachers and violators.

Thanks to its Norwegian partner - Directorate for Nature Management, BBF enable 20 people from Strandja (in the first trip) to visit different places and not only to learn, but mostly to inspire and to use the lessons learned to develop pro-biodiversity businesses - small production, guest house, a natural product, etc. Perhaps the most impressive for all the participants remained the visit in Brandheya camp, where two farmers with their own funds and with both hands developed unusual tourist facilities (the bear lair). They offer a variety of outdoor activities - rowing boat or canoe, fishing, throwing of an ax, running on logs on the lake, etc. And have you ever go for a trip from 24:00 to 02:00 pm at night on daylight? We did it.

The trip of the second group was directed to the representatives of institutions involved in the Strandja Nature Park management and development, and included presentations on the system of protected areas management, monitoring, collection of databases, etc. We have seen how a former mining town from the 18th century could become a tourist attraction, as a part of the UNESCO list, and could attract 1 million visitors annually; How a mining train can become a tourist attraction too and to take underground to listen to a concert or even to marry. The meetings with reindeers, musk ox and for some of us the whales in the North Sea will remain unforgettable.

In study trips took part local people and entrepreneurs from Strandja Nature Park, who develops small family nature friendly businesses - owners of guest houses, tourist guides, honey, cheese and fish-products producers, etc., as well as representatives of institutions responsible for the management and sustainable development of Strandja NP - MoEW, Sofia Regional Administration, Regional Directorate of Forestry, Strandja NP Directorate, Municipalities Tsarevo and Malko Tarnovo, etc. Trips were organized by BBF within the project "Cooperation for biodiversity conservation and sustainable local development in Strandja Mountain”, implemented with the financial support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area.