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  15.05.2018, 09:56h

New sustainable management measures at Skradinski Buk

In order to preserve Skradinski Buk for future generations, as the longest, best known and most visited waterfall on the Krka River, and one of Croatia's most famous natural landmarks, and also to ensure visitors have the complete experience, surrounded by natural, cultural and historical heritage of the highest category, the Public Institute of Krka National Park has introduced limitations to swimming under the falls.

Swimming is permitted in the period from 1 June to 30 September, depending on weather conditions and water levels, only in specifically marked areas, from the buoys to the bridge. It will no longer be possible to swim downstream of the bridge, and a wooden fence will be installed at the entrance into the water to increase visitor safety.

After the visitor limitation model was introduced in 2017 with the decision to restrict the reception capacity to 10,000 visitors at one time at Skradinski Buk, the Public Institute of Krka National Park is continuing to introduce new management decisions aimed at better organisation of visitation and improving the quality of the visitor experience, and preserving the water quality of the Krka River, protecting the travertine building process and the unique biodiversity of this karst landscape.

“The number of visitors to Skradinski Buk is growing from year to year, presenting us with challenges the need to find new solutions. This year we are introducing new measures to increase safety and visitor flow, and to reduce crowds at Skradinski Buk. On the one hand, we have built an expansion on the bridge itself, while on the other we have limited bathing areas, which is an introduction to a solution. We are working parallel on several projects which are also aiming to reduce crowds and therefore improve the visitor experience, while protecting nature and further developing the education system, as one of the main pillars of park management. The new infrastructure in the field will create better conditions for children, youth, professor volunteers and researchers wanting to learn more about Krka National Park,” explained director of the Public Institute of Krka National Park, Krešimir Šakić, MSc.

Since the number of visitors to Skradinski Buk has grown significantly, in order to protect both visitors and the environment, new consideration has been given to the organisation of swimming at that site. After the Croatian Government adopted the Decision on the drafting of the Krka National Park Spatial Plan at its session on 5 October 2017, the Ministry of Construction and Spatial Planning launched the process for its initiation. The organisation of swimming is one of the important topics to be regulated through the plan adoption process.

“The park area is faced with challenges of balancing nature conservation and environmental protection with other activities in this area, so the drafting of this plan is an opportunity to hold constructive dialogue on these issues. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all interested persons to get actively involved in public discussions on the future of Krka National Park. It is our joint responsibility to protect nature for future generations. Skradinski Buk is a site which, in addition to the waterfalls as the main attraction, is also known for the song of the nightingale, swim of the Illyrian ide, croaking of the green frog, flight of the hawk, and dance of the emerald dragonflies. In order to preserve this wealth and enable visitors to experience the complete values of this site, it is necessary to introduce temporal dispersion to direct visitor flows, to reduce crowds, and to increase safety,” stressed Krka National Park senior scientist, Dr. Drago Marguš.

The primary mission of Krka National Park is to preserve the water quality of the Krka River, to protect the travertine building process and the unique karst biodiversity, and to ensure a high quality visitation project that will enable guests to have the true park experience. Activities in this management model at Skradinski Buk are directed at achieving this mission. However, there are a series of other projects currently under development in the Krka National Park area, through the concept of sustainable management, with an emphasis on educational programmes for the local population and visitors, and to differentiate the park content. The project Unknown Krka – hidden treasures of the upper and middle course of the Krka River is directed at developing visitor infrastructure in the upper and lower course, while the construction of the Krka Visitor Centre – Lozovac will enable better visitor reception at the park’s most commonly used entrance. At the visitor centre, visitors will be able to become better acquainted with the programmes implemented in the Unknown Krka project, and also to spend more time in the surrounding area, thereby stimulating the economic development of the local community. The newly opened visitor centre at Laškovica has been developed as a starting point for an active tour of the park, with 29 km of marked walking trails and 470 km of cycling trails, which will soon be presented to those who prefer to experience the outdoors on two wheels.