Shar Mountain is a newly proclaimed National Park with an ambitious mission to establish and support local economic development. 2023 was a crucial year when the park managing authority initiated enforcement of laws and nature conservation initiatives while applying three key principles, employing professional staff, involving the local people, and transparency.
One year is a short period to reach the Park’s 10 year vision, becoming one of the 20 most desired tourist destinations in Europe. However, to reach this goal sooner, the Public institution is systematically implementing the identified priorities of the Management Plan in close cooperation with many other initiatives and actively contributing to their implementation.
By the end of 2023, the Public Institution Shar Mountain National Park has increased its team to 17 permanently employed and 3 temporary staff, fully equipping the field staff, establishing the necessary office space, office stationaries and 4×4 vehicles.
Nearly half of the annual operational budget for 2023 was provided by PONT, making it the most deserved supporter for the initial nature conservation actions on the Shar Mountain.
Some of the key outputs of the grant include:
- Identified key species and key habitats
- Identified constructed houses out of the mountain villages
- Prepared map of roads to be used by motorized vehicles
- The natural resources are sustainably managed
- Established initial informative and tourism infrastructure
- Informed wider public and local inhabitants
The Head of the nature conservation department, Anela Stavrevska-Panajotova said: “Calming down the nature by changing some of the long term established habits of business, visitors and local people is a challenging task. I would like to thank the entire team as well as PONT for giving its best. Based on the 2023 experiences we were able to identify five key species and 5 key habitats, and the new three year grant provided by PONT is entirely designed to focus our efforts on their preservation. The new three year period, 2024-2026, will give us the opportunity to properly manage the species, habitats and ecosystems, while preserving the Shar Mountain outstanding values for the future generations.”