Resen Municipality is responsible for managing two protected areas, the Ezerani Nature Park (NP) and the Lake Prespa Monument of Nature. The Ezerani NP was proclaimed in 1996 as a strict reserve – IUCN category I, covering 1,917 hectares of wetlands and meadows along the northern shoreline of Lake Prespa. In 2012, it was reproclaimed under the IUCN category (IV) due to the need for active management of its habitats.
The Environment Department of Resen Municipality is responsible for the day-to-day management of Ezerani NP. This is led mostly by the park rangers. Their duties include a wide range of tasks from maintenance of the park and visitor infrastructure, to the monitoring of habitats and species and physical protection of the park, including regular patrolling and surveying of the area. For instance, rangers regularly patrol the area from the villages of Asamati to Sirhan using a speedboat, to correct the positions of the buoys marking the border at Lake Prespa and to enforce the rules during the fish spawning period. Many of the activities for improving visitor experience, raising awareness among the local communities about the natural values of Prespa and the need to act responsibly and sustainably are carried out with the close involvement of the park rangers. Maintaining professional and close communication with the communities around the parks is of the highest priority.
PONT supports Resen Municipality by co-financing operational costs related to the management of Ezerani NP. The PONT grants were used to hire seasonal workers from the local community and to acquire new management equipment (vehicles, monitoring equipment, uniforms, gear) to help them carry out their day-to-day work more effectively.
Over the past 4 years, PONT’s support has enabled the rangers to regularly maintain the existing management and visitor infrastructure along the walking trails and the recreational areas. Of the many significant results accomplished by the rangers in 2022, the following illustrate their roles in managing visitor infrastructure in Ezerani NP:
- Clearing vegetation along walking paths: about ten kilometres of trails were cleared in 2022
- Replacement of information boards
- Maintenance of visitor infrastructure: repainting of wooden structures and facilities within the park, which assist with the reception of students, tourists and every visitor who wants to learn more about the park and its wildlife.
Additionally, the rangers act as Environmental Ambassadors, educating park visitors on safety rules, leading regular educational tours and excursions for pupils, students, interested citizens and various local and national NGO’s. The rangers are also involved in the monitoring, management and restoration of priority habitats and species.
Authors: Maja Kotevska, Angjela Ivanovska, Biljana Rimceska, Municipality of Resen