Nature Shorts

Hike in the forest with fallow deer

FORESTERS have opened the oldest game preserve in the country to the public. The Teplý Vrch game preserve can be found in the Rimavská Sobota district and entered by way of a newly built educational trail.

The three-kilometre trail, with eight informational stops, winds through a fallow deer field that spreads out over a thousand hectares.

"The visitors can see feeding and catching facilities, the foresters' game watching spots, the Blh castle with a beautiful lookout over the Gemer and other regions. If visitors are lucky enough, they can see fallow deer, moufflons, or venison," Beáta Juríčková, director of the Rimavská Sobota forestry branch of Lesy SR told the press.

The Teplý Vrch game preserve was built in the 18th century. It was the first preserve in the Slovak territory that housed fallow deer coming from the Mediterranean and southwestern Asia areas. Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand Coburg, a famous hunter and traveler, was its last owner.

The educational trail in the game preserve is the seventh such trail opened by foresters. This year they opened the trails leading along the Danube's old river-basin, the mining location in the Štiavnica woods and the trail around the spa town of Trenčianske Teplice.

By the end of the year, the foresters plan to open another such trail in the forest at Smolnícka Osada in eastern Slovakia. This forest is visited and admired by foresters and environmentalists from across Europe.

Tatras' main waterfall has a new access

The Tatras' highest waterfall is unknown to many, as it is off the path.
photo: SITA

TOURISTS can return to admire the highest waterfall of the High Tatras at Kmeťov Vodopád. The foresters decided to build a new access trail to the waterfall after the bridge leading up to the waterfall could not hold up to the demands of the many tourists that visited the spot and broke apart three years ago.

The many tourists continued to cross the Nefcer spring to view the waterfall from the other direction.

"Not only [were the tourists] destroying the surrounding nature, but it was also dangerous for them," head of the Podbanské Preservation District Marián Jurík told the SITA news wire.

Before this year's summer season, the foresters repaired the trails to the waterfall and built a new railing on the other side of the spring, from where there is a better view of the Kmeťov waterfall.

The Tatras' top waterfall is some 80 metres high and springs out of the Nižné Terianske mountain lake at around 1,500 metres above sea level. It is located in the lower part of the Nefcerka valley, which is part of the Kôprova region. The waterfall is named after Andrej Kmeť, Slovak botanist, ethnographer, archaeologist, and geologist, who was interested in the nature of the Tatras.

First bison comes to Slovakia

VISITORS to Šiklův mlýn (Šikl's Mill), a tourist location resembling an American old western town located in Liptovský Mikuláš, can meet a real live bison, an animal that is typically found on the American prairies. This is the first time a live bison has made it to Slovakia.

The four-month old calf named Big, was brought to Slovakia from the Czech Republic. "The young bison currently weights around 180 kilograms. An adult can reach up to 1,500 kilograms. After it was born, Big used to drink 16 litres of milk a day," Henry Špánik, the animal caretaker at the Liptovský Mikuláš Western Town told the Czech Press Agency.

Big is the offspring of a mother that remained in the Czech Western Town, that is also called Šiklův mlýn, near Zvole nad Pernštejnem. The press agency reported there are around 20,000 bison living in the world, mostly on North American reservations.

In addition to the baby Big, visitors to the Liptovský Mikuláš Western Town can see a real adult bison, which when alive originally weighted 1,450 kilograms, but now is preserved in a taxidermic state. Shoot-outs between sheriffs and bandits, archery, gold panning, hitching a ride on a special train or on a horse are all part of the attractions in the old Western Town that replicates the American Wild West atmosphere at the end of the 19th century. The Town is complete with saloon, bank, sheriff's office and café.

The Day of the Tree sets two records

Juraj Barbarič, the "Hercules", breaks the record with 320 kilos of wood.
photo: Courtesy of Lesy SR

"HERCULES" Juraj Barbarič and "forest" can-can dancers cheered up the atmosphere of the fifth annual Day of the Tree event held on July 8 at the Vydrovská valley forest, open-air museum near Čierny Balog.

The "strong man" Barbarič lifted a 320-kilograme "forest" dumbbell made of wood, that set a new world's record. Replicas of two Sk5,000 bills were placed under the dumbbell.

By lifting the dumbbell, Barbarič symbolically freed the money that went to the Children's House in Valašská. President Ivan Gašparovič, who came to personally congratulate Barbarič, increased the amount for the children to Sk30,000 (€800).

The second record in a more local vein was achieved by visitors dancing the "forest" can-can in typical forest trousers or knee-breeches. The condition they had to meet to break the record was dancing the can-can without any mistakes for at least 30 seconds.

More than 4,500 people from around the country attended the event that is becoming a popular forestry celebration.

Along with the record breaking events, visitors saw fujara players, folk dancers and observed the Devil's Violin of Ján Berky Mrenica. Visitors also participated in several competitions and were able to learn about the forest and all the inhabitants that call the forest home.

Prepared by Spectator staff

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