GB No. 12, winter 1994
Most people heard about Arłamów for the first time in 1982. It was there, at an exclusive government-owned hotel, that Lech Wałęsa (at that time the Solidarity Union leader, now the President of Poland) was imprisoned during Martial Law.
In 1945, battles between the Polish Regular Army and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army took place in this area. The Ukrainians actually prevailed in one battle near the village Gr1ziowa. The remains of villages such as Jamno Górne or Jamno Dolne can be recognized only because of wild orchards and clearings of self sown narcissus.
After all the Ukrainians were displaced, the area around Ar3amów (about 2500 hectares) was enclosed by a wall. Here a hunting reserve for high officials of the communist system was created. Thanks to this the area itself has survived nearly untouched by human activities, and now it is the home of such species as the golden eagle (Aguila chrysaetos) and red deer (Cervus elaphus). The whole area is covered with fir and beech trees, which provides habitat for many other species.
After the Parliamentary election at the beginning of 1990's (the first free election after the demise of the communist regime), jurisdiction of the area was turned over to a local authority, the chief of the Ustrzyki Dolne gmina (a gmina is a group of villages, the lowest level of public administration in Poland).
Because of the area's unquestionable environmental value and existing infrastructure (connecting roads, an administrative building, and a small hotel), Arłamów has started to be a subject of interest for the League for Nature Protection (LOP- the oldest Polish ecological organization, which deals mostly with educational issues in primary and secondary schools). LOP has declared the desirability of creating a national park in the Ar3amów area. It would be called Turnicki National Park. The documents necessary for the creation of a national park have been prepared, and the legal procedure has been initiated.
Of course nothing can happen completely free of problems -- especially financial problems. The chief of the Ustrzyki Dolne gmina has priced the Ar3amów area -- of course in the interest of the local community -- at 7 billion zł (approximately 400,000 USD). This money would be invested in the natural gas management system in the gmina. Moreover, the costs of maintaining the National Park for one year are approximately 1 billion zł. In short, there is a need for a total of 8 billion zł (approximately 460,000 USD) up front.
Attempts to find a sponsor are ongoing, but thus far have not been successful -- even though the creation of a national park at Ar3amów would have both economic and scientific benefits. The necessary infrastructure already exists. There would not be any conflicts with the local community, because there is nobody living there. The wall around the Arłamów area has kept people out and has protected the area's natural heritage.
¦rodowisko no 13/93
translated by Tomasz Terlecki