GB No. 4(19)/95
call for campaign
Where is it? The planned Turnica National Park is going to cover an area of app. 19.000 ha in the Przemyol Foothills Region, about 20 km from the town of Przemyol. The scientists claim that taking to account the environmental conditions the Park should embrace 25.000 ha minimum. They also say the present project is a compro-mise between nature conservation and the local economy demands. As designed, the Park in-cludes river basins of the Wiar and Strwiąż, both of typical East-Carpathian character. The heart of the Park will be the former "Arłamów State", a State hunting centre established in the 60's. In time it was surrounded with a 120 km long fence, its roads were asphalted and a small airport was built on its grounds.
The values. The Park, according to the project, would be the only reserve in Poland to cover a foothill region. The area has a unique diversity of species, the rare and protected ones, and many of them have been registered in the Red Book of Endangered Species. Big animals that live there are: lynx, wildecat and bear. In the forests natural flora have been preserved to extent greater than in the rest of the Carpathians. The primeval for-ests cover over 45% of the area! The grounds of the future park are scarcely inhabited. Meadows, forests and thickets along brooks and around former villages, untouched by farmers' hands, has turned wild again. In biological terms the Turnica Park will be more valuable than any of the existing ones. Despite its being wild, there is a relatively good tourist infrastructure in the out-skirts of the area: in the Ar³amow Palace and in the Ministerial Council Resort "Trójca".
The ownership. Fortunately, there are not any ownership or forest tax problems with the future Park. Its area belongs to the State Treasury.
The Ministry says NO! Although the Turnica Na-tional Park is very well documented (in the form of a book), although scientists demand creation of the Park, still the voivodship authorities, the local com-munity and the Director of the Nature Conservation Department do not want it. "We can't afford it," says the Director, making the decision of nation-wide im-portance on his own.
The State Forests says NO! In response to the motion by the Przemyol Voivod, the Director of the Regional Board of the State Forests, having con-sulted the General Director, did not agree for creat-ing the Turnica Park. The justification of such a de-cision was that nature could be protected without a park, tourism could develop without a park and, most of all, the State Treasury could not afford it. Hunters and foresters are also against the Park as their hunting society is dependent on the State For-ests and all the profit made on hunting go to the in-stitution. Similarly the income coming from tree felling. However, according to one version of the Park projects, the forest district Bircza would remain as it is, giving job to rangers and foresters.
What threatens the Park? All the odds are that the following months will be critical for the region of natural and cultural values. Unless any steps will be taken to create the Park and this way protect the unique character of the area, it will be destroyed. The main conflict is the one with the foresters who cut down the oldest and most valuable trees which all grow within the planned Park. As recently as in the 70's there were ash-trees of over 1 m diameter. There are still marvellous and decreasingly rare spruces and beeches to be found, despite the ever-working saws.
The Farming Agency is going to sell the grounds which have been depopulated and not cultivated. If new farms appear there, saving the area, so unique in Europe, from devastation will not be possible any more.
The State Forests buys the above-mentioned lands, although it does it very slowly. Moreover, the forest-ers plant trees on the areas and, in this way, disturb the character of the local biocenosis.
Many mysterious institutions turn out in the course of the whole affair, like the Environmental Fund for the Eastern Europe Nature and for national Parks (it plans to buy all the area of the planned Park). We have tried to made contact with the Fund, but there was no such firm at the given address...
We appeal to all circles, especially to journalists and environmentalists: speak and write about the immediate necessity of the Turnica National Park creation, inform people what is going wrong in the area, join our campaign. If you remain indifferent, considering the passivity of the Environmental Min-istry and of the society, we will have another price-less region in Poland devastated. Our children will never forgive us that.
Persons interested in joining our group will be sent a declaration, which will not affect your statutory rights, and can be obtained from the following address:
"Pracownia Na Rzecz Wszystkich Istot"
Ośrodek Głębokiej Ekologii
(The Association "The Workshop in Favour of All Beeings",
The Centre of Deep Ecology)
ul. Modrzewskiego 29/3
43-300 Bielsko Biała
reprinted from the Zielone Brygady, 12/95
translated by M. Maciejewska