The via ferrata in the Kyseľ gorge in Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise) has been closed to the public for winter on November 1. Tourists will be allowed to hike there again in mid-June next year.
An estimated 15,000 people visited the via ferrata this year in the 4-and-a-half months since its opening.
"Of course, compared to top localities in Slovenský Raj like Suchá Belá, Prielom Hornádu and the Dobšinská Ice Cave, this is just a fraction of visitors,” head of the Slovenský Raj National Park Administration, Tomáš Dražil, told the SITA newswire. “Kyseľ has troublesome access, however, it takes two hours on foot just to arrive to the gorge, so it's a daylong, difficult hike.”
The goal is not mass tourism in Kyseľ but instead its promotion as a locality for connoisseurs and experienced hikers who want to enjoy true wild life and beautiful scenes of Slovenský Raj, Dražil explained. From this point of view, national park administrators are satisfied with the visitor rate in the gorge.
A novelty this tourist season was a 100-metres long ferrata path at the beginning of the gorge, which proved to be a good idea.
“This section of the path was added solely to prevent the vegetation on the slopes above the gorge bottom from being destroyed,” Dražil noted for SITA. “When there was more water, some hikers did not use the brook bed but climbed the slopes instead.”
Today, visitors can choose between walking on the brook’s bed and the via ferrata.
The ferrata will now undergo fundamental maintenance, inspections of footboards and safety ropes.
No novelties are planned for 2018. But shortly before the start of the new season some smaller work may be necessary, “since the silts in the gorge are a live organism, reacting to the acute situation at the water levels”, Dražil said.
Kyseľ opened in August 2016, after four decades of closure. It is open for hikers between June 15 and October 31.
“Since the gorge was closed for 40 years without any human intervention, it needs a time of peace without visitors, in winter and spring,” Dražil explained for SITA. “We have to be absolutely careful and environmental protection has total priority here. We need the biotopes to regenerate, to develop undisturbed in spring, and for the protected fauna to have necessary peace in the winter and a sensitive spring season.”
If visitors violate the ban on entering Kyseľ, they will face a fine of €66.
7. Nov 2017 at 13:40 | Compiled by Spectator staff