Tatra and Rocky mountains to cooperate

The Polish and Slovak Tatra National Parks have signed cooperation agreements with Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The partnership, which was formalized on September 12, should result in an intensive exchange of ideas between employees of the three parks.

The building of tourist trails, measuring of tourist activity, development of park infrastructure and cooperation with volunteers are the main areas in which the Polish National Park should benefit after visits of its employees to Colorado in the U.S.

“But these are just a few possible advantages,” said Szymon Ziobrowski, who is responsible for the partnership program on the Polish side. “It’s hard to anticipate what good ideas we can bring home until we see how the Americans organize many things in their parks.”

According to the daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the cooperation should particularly help the local brown bear population, 17 of which are on the Polish side of the border. The bears cause many tourist problems in the Tatra Mountains as they become accustomed to man’s presence. They often steal food from people and even rob backpackers’ hostel storagerooms.

The problem of a shrinking wilderness for animals is called synantropization and has been investigated by employees of U.S. parks. Their methods should now be adopted by the Polish Tatra Park, even though it’s five times smaller.

American delegations visited both the Slovak and Polish National Parks last week. According to Ziolkowski, they were surprised by the number of tourists who hike 8.5 kilometers to Morskie Oko – the biggest lake in the Tatras.

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