GB No. 1(20)/96



Having faced the increasingly aggressive propaganda in favor of organisation of Winter Olympiad 2006 in Zakopane the Board of the Polish Ecological Club (PKE) decided to issue an open letter to President Kwa¶niewski. The text is printed below. photo

We find the matter very serious since propagators of the idea are ready to sacrifice large parts of the National Park under the banner of Winter Olympic Games organisation. Furthermore, they want to cover the costs with the money drawn from the pockets of taxpayers. The affair is quite similar to the one of the so-called Climate Station in Bieszczady. Then it was The Polish Ecological Club who decidedly protested against the station. Eventually the whole Polish society stood behind us and we won. Now we have to do a similar thing: the fate of the Tatras is at stake and we have to save them. Loosing the case would mean that the National Park will be replaced by a waste dump and funfair in one.

We appeal to all our members and sympathizers, to all pro-environmental organisations, to scientific circles and all officials responsible for Polish nature, Members of Parliament and journalists: say your flat NO to the devastation of The Polish Tatras.

Jerzy Sawicki, M.S.
President of the PKE Section of National Parks


Mr. President,

Your public statement of support for Winter Olympic Games in Poland 2006 made on the occasion of Cup of the World Championship in Ski Jump in January 1996 in Zakopane caused our deep concern. We are afraid you seem to endorse the one-sided opinion of the skiing lobby not having lent your ear to the most serious arguments against the idea of organising the Olympic Games in Zakopane.

The Polish Ecological Club which represents in matters of nature conservation several thousands of its members and sympathizers through its 15 Circles spread all over Poland, and whose competence in these issue is widely recognised among non-governmental organisations, expresses its strong protest against the idea and against any breach of law connected with its realisation committed infrequently by governmental officials.

The investments related to organisation of the Olympic games in the region enclosed by the towns of Kraków, Nowy Sącz, Zakopane and Bielsko-Biała, such as fast roads, tourist infrastructure and the overall development of the area should be carefully planned and designed in harmony with preservation of its unique nature and landscape.

Unfortunately such a plan has not been devised so far. Instead, the extremely expensive enterprise named "Winter Olympics" has been promoted with such unnecessary investments as a bobsleigh run or speed skate track etc. Investments really important for the region are treated negligently.

We will consistently protest against any sports investments within the area of the national parks, including the Tatra Mountains National Park. We decidedly support the stand of Director of the latter, Wojciech BYRCYN, whose activity conducted in co-operation with the local community placed the park in the top position of the best-managed national parks in Poland. We will consistently defend Mr. Byrcyn against charges of the Olympic games supporters in the press.

Mr. President, to our knowledge, both the last Olympic games, in Albertsville and Lillehammer, ended with financial loss independent of great investment costs: in the case of the former the deficit reached app. $250.000.000, and the latter - over $50.000.000. About 75% of their costs were covered by the wealthy governments of France and Norway. Can Poland afford such a luxury? Does A Polish taxpayer really want his money to be spent for the costly bobsleigh run (app. $40.000.000) or destruction of the Tatra Mountains National Park?

Everybody should realise that there is no Alps-type mountains in Poland. The snow cover in the Park allows downhill skiing for not longer than about 30 days in a year. This should be borne in mind by businessmen from Zakopane which is already dirty and overpopulated. We appeal to these people that they ought to cease charges against the management of the Tatra Mountains National Park.

The Polish Ecological Club is fully aware that the irresponsibly aroused hopes and the aggressive propaganda of the Winter Olympic Games for some people means a goose that lays the golden eggs. Appreciating the gravity of the problem we would suggest establishment of a multidisciplinary body that would be able to devise a constructive development plan for the mountain regions including the surroundings of the Tatra Mountains. The leading idea should be the coexistence of culture and nature. The well-balanced development plan will cover the economic aspects and the welfare of the local communities while not allowing destruction of nature or landscape or of any other utmost values possessed by the Polish Nation. Our solution is fully compliant to the program "Parks for Life" promoted by the World Life Protection Union.

We do not involve in this discussion the very Olympic idea that has been corrupted for years by various business circles feeding on sport. It is enough to state that the Winter Olympiad will be the worst and the most expensive method of promoting Polish mountains, Kraków and its region.

The Polish Ecological Club considers organisation of the Winter Olympic games 2006 in Poland inexpedient and harmful. We appeal to you, Mr. President, to engage in protection of the values that are part of The Polish natural and cultural heritage and that constitute our national identity.

Sincerely yours,

Prof. Stanisław Juchnowicz, PhD
President of The Polish Ecological Club
Jerzy Sawicki, M.S.
President of the PKE Section of National Parks
Adam Markowski, M.S.
President of the Małopolska Circle of PKE
reprinted from Biuletyn Informacyjny
Zarz±du Głównego PKE
, Feb. '96
translated by M. Maciejewska

GB No. 1(20)/96 | Contents