MAR 2018: Ohrid SOS is celebrating a double victory after the Macedonian government passed a decision to dissolve changes to the management plan for the 5000-species Ohrid-Prespa mountain, National Park Galichica. This combines with last month’s official announcement that the A3 express road previously threatening to cut the park in two has also been cancelled.
Disallowing changes to the management plan means that the levels of protection for all areas of the national park will remain the same, which precludes construction of a ski-resort that would have caused large-scale environmental disruption on the mountainside.
It thereby secures a haven for bears, wildcat, wolves, eagle owls, Balkan chamois, deer, a kaleidoscope of butterflies, and countless other favorites, not to mention several important forest habitats and stretches of grassland. Importantly, the national park’s potential to provide ecosystem services through sustainable tourism will not be diminished.
Focus for Ohrid SOS now shifts to securing high-level protected status for the full 63.97-hectare area of Studenchishte Marsh; preventing the incremental urbanization of the Lake Ohrid shoreline (the Macedonian government has side-stepped the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s recommendation for a moratorium); improving the regional ecotourism offer; and continuing to raise awareness about the amazingness and uniqueness of Ohrid, Macedonian and Balkan nature in general. There’s still a lot of work to do.
Lastly, if you have supported us on the journey to protect Mount Galichica, please remember one very important thing: This victory might not have been possible without you…
Pic: Petar Bavcandziev