The Conservation Carpathia Foundation, the largest nature conservation project in Romania, will benefit from over 50 years of experience of the Bayerischer Wald National Park (Bavarian Forest), within the cooperation partnership concluded between the two entities. The partnership was signed in Finsterau, one of the communities in the vicinity of the Bayerischer Wald National Park, by Dr. Franz Leibl, head of the Bayerischer Wald National Park Administration, and Christoph Promberger, executive director of the Conservation Carpathia Foundation, during a press conference.
The partnership will run for five years and aims at the transfer of knowledge between the German and Romanian sides in species research and monitoring projects, large carnivore management, development of educational programs, creation of economic mechanisms for communities, tourism programs, training and communication.
As part of the partnership, the organizations also host visits by steakholders from the project area: authorities, researchers, journalists, the employees of the two projects, to see and learn how a national park works, how it works and its effects on the local economy and people.
The Bavarian Forest National Park and the Conservation Carpathia Foundation started their cooperation in April, with the working visit of a group of mayors from the south of the Făgăraș Mountains.
Between October 24-28, a team of Romanian journalists from the local and national media visited the Bayerischer Wald National Park and met with representatives of the park, local authorities and organizations that develop programs together with the park, thus getting to know the operating model and its impact on the local economy.
“We are honored and proud of the partnership with the Bavarian Forest National Park. Because we, the Conservation Carpathia Foundation, being a project associate ourselves with the largest, oldest and most valuable national park in Germany. It is something special, especially since in June, when the team of this park visited us, and they saw the Făgăraș Mountains, they could not believe that the Făgăraș Mountains are not a national park. They told us that we have all the ingredients a park needs to have, we’re just not using that potential for local communities. I think we can learn a lot from them,” said Christoph Promberger, executive director of the Conservation Carpathia Foundation.
“Through this partnership we believe that we can lay the foundations for an intense exchange of knowledge, for the benefit of both organizations. We have to learn about virgin forests, about the coexistence between humans and wild animals, about large carnivores,” said Dr. Franz Leibl, head of the Bayerischer Wald National Park Administration.
The Bayerischer Wald National Park was established in 1970 as a mechanism for economic growth. It has an area of 24,250 ha and together with Sumava National Park Czech Republic – 69,000 ha, forms the largest protected area in Europe. The establishment of the National Park caused local opposition, but opinion changed as the communities’ incomes increased considerably due to the park. Today 85% of residents are positive and support the existence of the park, and the degree of acceptance of the park has steadily increased over the years. Access to the park is free, and it is supported by public funds, with an annual budget between 20 and 25 million euros. The presence of the park brings to the area approximately 1.4 million tourists who generate 52 million euros in the local economy, according to the data of the studies carried out in 2018. On average, a tourist spends 78 euros/day in the area and opts for 5 nights of accommodation at hotels and guesthouses in region.
The park develops many educational programs for schools in the community, engages the people of the region in guided tours and generates jobs for the entire area.