Pieniny National Park celebrates a special anniversary

The smallest national park in Slovakia was officially opened in 1967.

Traditional rafting on the Dunajec river is a tourist attraction in Pieniny National Park. Traditional rafting on the Dunajec river is a tourist attraction in Pieniny National Park. (Source: TASR)
More information about travelling in Slovakia
Please see our Spectacular Slovakia travel guide.

The smallest national park in Slovakia, the Pieniny National Park (PIENAP), celebrates half a centenary this year.

“It is a nice anniversary, but the park’s story started when the Slovak Natural Reserve in Pieniny, the first of its kind in Europe, was announced in 1932,” Environment Minister László Sólymos stated, as quoted by the SITA newswire, at the beginning of November, when a two-day festive conference was organised to mark the date. The minister also handed over written thanks to former and current employees of PIENAP.

Read also:Riding the rivers of Slovakia (Spectacular Slovakia - travel guide) Read more 

The Pieniny park was the first and one of few national parks to undergo zonation, the process of dividing the park into several smaller sections with different levels of protection. Zonation is necessary to develop protected areas in the long term and sustain tourism as the economy must work in conjunction with natural protection, the minister added for SITA.

The most recent tourist attraction is the tree-top path in Bachledova Dolina valley, situated on the border between PIENAP and the Tatra National Park (TANAP).

Read also:Tatras offer a walk in the treetops Read more 

The image of the park has changed in the 50 years since its opening, head of PIENAP administration Vladimír Kĺč said.

“People have lived in this region, breeding livestock, caring for the country, but as this is a region within Slovakia outside the economic interests, people have fled,” he noted, as quoted by SITA. “We can see this now from the overgrown meadows and bio-tops. One solution is to have a national park but parks have limited administration. To manage this area well, hiring someone who lives in this area is necessary – and everything must unfold from this.”

Read also:The Spectator's national park guideRead more 

People returning to traditional land management are crucial, Kĺč added.

It is the landscape and its state that impact tourism, Kĺč stressed for SITA. Currently, visitors of the national park are lured not only by hiking routes but also traditional rafting on wooden rafts on the Dunajec River. Annually, around 800,000 visitors come to PIENAP.

Read also:Summer tourist season in Pieniny will be closed with hiking Read more 

The PIENAP was established by a decree of then-communist parliament on January 16, 1967. Its stated goal has been to keep, renew, protect and boost the park while paying special attention to its cultural-scientific, water-management, health and touristic importance. The park is 3,750 hectares in total, of which around 278 hectares are in the strictest zone A, with the 5th level of protection.

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

News digest: Former state secretary describes the corruption at courts

Schools will definitely not open on Monday. Coronavirus vaccine could be available starting in mid-December. Slovakia joins campaign to fight violence against women.

The Presidential Palace lit in orange, to support the Orange the world! campaign.

Pass a Slovak language dictation so you can work with foreigners

The draft migration policy proposal is out. Where does a foreigner find the official, certified list of cultural realities and traditions they are supposed to respect?

Some problems with the Foreigners’ Police continue.

One in five women has experienced violence

The situation is far from satisfactory, said President Čaputová.

Secret votes and public lies

There are uncanny echoes today of Slovakia’s agonies over its choice of chief prosecutor ten years ago.

Dobroslav Trnka (left) and Jozef Čentéš (right), the candidate who was eventually selected by MPs in 2011, never got to take up the post because the then president, Ivan Gašparovič refused to appoint him for reasons that were never clearly explained.