State environmental protectionists are considering charging entrance fees to certain protected areas in the Tatras and Pieniny mountain ranges. The state hopes to collect the money to improve the care for natural reserves, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.
A similar fee in the Polish Tatras has been collected for 20 years, with an adult charged €1. “We would use the money collected in entrance fees for maintaining the hiking paths and improving services, e.g. to build waste bins and restrooms,” head of the TANAP (Tatras National Park) Administration Pavol Majko told the daily.
Currently, an entrance fee is only collected in the Slovanský Raj, but it simply goes to the local municipalities, and not directly towards environmental protection of the parks.
Ján Roháč of the Ekopolis environmental foundation welcomes the step, claiming that if the system is drafted in a sensible way, it can help the protected areas. “This would enable environmental protection and locals to draw benefits from this money,” he said. “If the money ended up in Bratislava, no one would profit from it.”
As of next year, state environmentalists will have more authority. For example, if they collect the money now, they would be forced to hand it over to the Environmental Fund, where it would be re-allocated among many groups. According to the new rules, that money would remain in the hands of state environmentalists. A planned amendment to the law on environmental protection would secure this, and also help solve complicated ownership issues in protected areas in which state is not a 100-percent owner.
In the future, state environmentalists would like to offer hikers and visitors in national parks guidance services and expert lectures, which would, however, cost more money. Head of the state environmentalists Milan Boroš told the daily that more information on this issue should be available by the end of 2013.
(Source: Hospodárske noviny)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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17. Sep 2013 at 14:00