Several “green” organizations are the main players in the preparation of the management plans of the three national and the 11 nature parks in Bulgaria. For years “ecologists” have been conquering this area and turning it into a lucrative business to make millions, shows an investigation by Trud newspaper.
The “environmentalists” impose prohibitions mainly in the plans of Pirin, Rila, Central Balkans, Balgarka and Strandzha. The result is ruination. The hiking trails, marking, cabins, lodges, cableways and ski slopes are in a desperate state. Meanwhile the mountains are becoming ever more dangerous for tourism.
The imposed restrictions prevent the building of almost anything under the pretext that construction work threatens biodiversity.
Although the management plans seem to allow the construction of buildings that could save lives in bad weather, such as shelters and cabins, the procedure is slow and cumbersome. Compatibility and ecological assessments are required, and these are open to challenge in court.
The “greens” always lodge appeals against construction in protected territories, regardless of its nature. For this reason, the mountain shelters that are still fit for use are decreasing in number, although they could save a lost hiker or accommodate a large group in a snowstorm.
In Central Balkans National Park, the four existing shelters will be renovated and new ones are intended to be built. This is happening after Atanas Penchev and his son Adrian got lost in a snowstorm last week and have not been found yet. There are comments that if they had hidden in a shelter, there would be a greater chance of finding them alive.
The Mayor of Kalofer, Rumen Stoyanov, stated that the mountain used to be far safer, because there were shelters, huts and pens – places where a person could stay in an emergency situation. With time, the frame-built structures have collapsed, while the shelters are in a very bad condition.
Locals say that since the creation of the National Park about 30 years ago, the options for human activity on the mountain have diminished. They think this is related to the prohibitions enforced by the “greens” through the management plans.
The main body of the management plan of the protected territory in the Balkan Mountains was prepared by the consortium of Central Balkans Civil-law Partnership for approximately 400 000 BGN. A key player in the business partnership is the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Foundation (BBF). Another legal person is ET Biosfera Consult.
BFB is a member of the coalition For Nature in Bulgaria. Another member is the Green Balkans NGO that included 34.8% of the country’s territory in protected zones in Natura 2000.
Other members of the coalition are the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) protecting the red-breasted goose for 2.6 million euros and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Bulgaria who are now restocking the Danube river with sturgeon for several million levs. WWF’s project is managed by Veselina Kavrakova, wife of the ex-director of the Directorate of Vitosha Nature Park, Toma Belev.