In the land of bear, wolf and lynx – Risnjak National ParkOct 18, 2016
It is late September, one of the last wonderful weeks in this year's Indian summer. There is the Rijeka-Zagreb Motorway, mist, tunnels and sunshine... We drive through a couple of more bends, and suddenly we face Risnjak – a bare stone massif rising from the lush vegetation of the region of Gorski kotar, and a National park annually visited by approximately 17 thousand visitors.
Even though nature in this area is largely free of human trace, and even though most of the forests of Risnjak were never exploited by man, the National Park area is easily accessible to visitors.
Just like green bridges were built along the motorway, allowing bear, wolf and other wild animals to cross it, the PARCS Project made it possible to create a network of panorama trails for visitors of the Risnjak National Park as the green heart of Gorski kotar, The main design criterion was the seamless integration of new infrastructure into the environment. Walking trails, viewpoints and pedestrian bridges have been prepared for visitors, as well as fences and handrails along steep sections of the route. Picnic places and "benches with a view" are also available, allowing visitors to rest their eyes and soul. The panorama trail route leads from the entrance to the Park at the border with Slovenia and the village of Hrvatsko, proceeding along the Kupa River in the form of a fishing trail, and linking visitor information centers in Razloge and Donji Kupari.
One special feature of the trail is that it has been designed in cooperation with artists and students of the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka and the team of landscape architects. As a result, the trail also offers a unique artistic and sensory experience, invoking the traditional tales of the local community about supernatural beings living in the forest.
For those who prefer shelter provided by firm walls to a walk along the Kupa River, together with a roof above their head and a delicious strudel prepared in the Park restaurant from blueberries of Gorski kotar, the administrative National Park building in Crni Lug might prove an interesting destination. It has been renovated on the basis of the nearly zero-energy standard. The building envelope was reconstructed, new wood-aluminum joinery installed, and the roof received new insulation covered in wooden shingles. The new biomass-powered heating boiler has also been installed as a highly valuable ecological contribution, together with environmentally friendly LED lighting.
The best piece of news is that fuel oil is no longer used in the very heart of the forest. Instead, the heating facility uses biomass (wood chips). Last but not least, external walls and the roof have been clad in traditional wooden shingles, made in cooperation with local craftsmen.
The total investment by the PARCS Project in Risnjak National Park is approximately 4.4 million HRK, which constitutes almost 15 percent of the total budget of the PARCS Project, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility grant and by the United Nations Development Programme.
Feel intrigued? We invite you to visit the Park and take a walk along the fishing trail! However, as you do so, please do not forget an important fact: This place is home to bear, wolf and lynx. This is where forest and water beings live. Therefore, walk through their forest home in respect and love, leaving no trace, yet filled with the desire to return.