President extends patronage to Vacaresti National Park in Bucharest

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President Klaus Iohannis visited the Vacaresti Natural Park on Thursday, when Earth Day was also celebrated, announcing he will extend his protection and high patronage to the park, and that a working group would be set up for the development of the area.

Vacaresti Delta is a wetland area National Park inside the Capital city.

I thought a visit to the Vacaresti Natural Park is exactly right for this Earth Day (…) The Earth needs a lot of protection and that involves countless things. This area has appeared rather by chance: it was discovered by some enthusiasts who set up an association and I take this opportunity to congratulate (…) the rangers who are taking care of this area, which became very well-known area countrywide. The Vacaresti Natural Park is a wild park (…) I am glad that its example goes further,” the head of state said after the tour, also announcing he will extend his protection to the Vacaresti National Park to emphasize its importance.

“In order to emphasize its importance, I will extend my protection and high patronage to this park. I hope that the example will be a positive one and that we will have increasingly more green areas of such quasi-wild type. Basically there is a deficit of green areas in all big cities in Romania; we have countless blocks of flats, concrete alleys, and very few green areas, (…) but they are vital for a balanced community. In this respect, I have discussed with the minister, together with the association, I think we need to step in little bit in the legislation, we need to pay more attention to this area, (…) to the environment and nature so that we all live in a more pleasant and healthier area that is also better for future generations,” Iohannis pointed out.

He announced that a working group will be set up to find solutions to develop the area.

I have agreed with the minister to set up this working group, to take a look, to modernise the legislation in the field. For my opinion is that it was wrong when in 2018 NGOs were taken out of protected areas, because the associations can come up with the right and eager people to get involved in projects from which they do not earn anything. On the other hand, we have the state auhtorities that must be aware that they have a role to play here, including in securing funding. Nothing is maintained on its own. This area must be protected. (…) Together with the minister, we will make sure that this working group will manage a modernisation of the legislation and create the specific tools to intervene concretely and positively in these areas of urban natural parks,” added Iohannis.

Vacaresti Natural Park, the delta in the middle of Bucharest

Vacaresti Natural Parkis a nature park in the Romanian Capital,encompassing the wetlands  surrounding Lake Vacaresti.

It stretches on 190 hectares on an area that used to be a large swampy land on the outskirts of Bucharest. To its west was the area known as the “valley of weeping” that was the rubbish dump of inter-war Bucharest.

The communists during Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule drained the swampy areas, erecting a district of blocks of flats. Ceausescu even wanted to build a reservoir supposed to be filled from the Arges River through the Mihailesti Lake, so a concrete dam was built to encircle the lake, but the plans  were abandoned when communism fell.

In 2003, the Ministry of Environment conceded the area to Royal Romanian Corporation for 49 years, for a sum of USD 6 million, for the establishment of a sports and culture complex, in but this plan was also off when the company did not honor its share.

As the area has not been in use for such a long time, wildlife flourished within the confines of the dam. The biodiversity now encountered here is considered by some to be comparable to that of a small river delta.

A 2013 study counted hundreds of species of plants and 96 different species of birds.

In June, 2014, the Lake Văcărești surrounding was declared a protected nature area and named Văcărești Nature Park by the Government of Romania.

Văcărești Nature Park was the setting for Radu Ciorniciuc’s 2020 documentary Acasă, My Home, telling the story of a family that lived in the park for 20 years.

In 2017, Văcărești Natural Park Association set up an eight-kilometer cyclotourism trail in Văcărești Natural Park.

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