In December 2019 PONT signed a grant to the Public Institution Galicica National Park (PIGNP) to cover 50% of the total costs for implementing their 2020 Operational Plan. PIGNP’s resources will be directed to maintaining and developing the key functions of the institution, in line with the IUCN Category II protected area management guidelines, with the following being priorities for 2020:
- biodiversity monitoring and reporting in line with national and EU requirements;
- enhancing the physical infrastructure and human capacity for visitor management;
- development of the environmental education function in the park; and
- completion and formal endorsement of the Management Plan for the period 2021-2030.
Following the steady increase of income from visitors over the past two years, in combination with the contribution from PONT, the 2020 Operational Plan doesn’t include activities related to firewood production, for the first time in the park’s 61-year history, setting a precedence for national parks in North Macedonia.
PONT is also facilitating the transformation of PIGNP’s financing model by supporting its local partners. Following the open call for proposal published in December 2019, PONT approved the applications from two non-governmental organizations from Ohrid that aim at diversifying the recreational opportunities for park’s visitors while enhancing the protection of park’s values.
The grant to the Alpine Club Patagonia will help PIGNP both increase the income from entrance fees while reducing the pressure on the more vulnerable parts of the park, such as the peak Magaro within the zone of strict protection. With the grant, the club will develop a “Via Ferrata” – protected climbing route, as the first phase of the long-term plan to establish an Adventure Zone in the park. By creating new opportunities and upgrading the visitor infrastructure and services (such as the mountain rescue service), the grant is expected to generate additional income not only for the PIGNP, but also for the local communities that will be providing supporting services, such as transport, food and accommodation.
The grant to the Association of sports “Sport for all – All for sport”, based in Ohrid, concerns the organisation of the 2020 edition of the “Ohrid Trail” as an international outdoor sports event, which invites amateur and professional trail runners to compete in Galicica National Park, adhering to internationally verified criteria with strong emphasis on environmental awareness and protection. This grant will contribute to the local economy and help place Galicica National Park on the global map by increasing the awareness among the local businesses and communities of the economic potential of adventure tourism in the park and the Prespa Ohrid region in general.