Appeal for mountaineering access to Slovakia’s High Tatra
09 Jun 2008
The UIAA has called for fewer restrictions on mountaineers, climbers and trekkers in Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains, intervening on behalf of the Slovakian Alpine Union.
During a recent visit to the Tatras National Park, the delegation from the UIAA Access and Conservation Commission was confronted with several restrictions including bans on leaving the signed trails and bivouacking anywhere in the mountains, as well as hiking before sunrise or after sunset.
“To Western mountaineers these tactics appear to be draconian measures, perhaps a throw-back to the former Communist regime, and the time has come when they should be reviewed and revised,” said Commission President Robert Pettigrew.
The richness of flora and fauna in the park and high visitor numbers goes some way towards explaining the authorities successful bid to have the park declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The High Tatra, only 70 kilometres long and 20 kilometres wide, is visited by five million people a year.
However, the objection of over-crowded mountains is not true and mountaineering remains one of the few sports that is practiced without stiff regulations.
Pettigrew said the educational and social values of mountaineering must be defended so the sport can be practiced freely, “with a sense of personal responsibility for the environment and other people”.
The full 2008 Access and Conservation report can be found on the Access and Conservation Commission page, (members-only).