Lolaia Falls – a new viewing point in Retezat National Park, Transylvania, November 2011
New Environmentalist is pleased to announce that Agent Green, one of our partners in Transylvania completed in September 2011 a new local project to increase the ecotourism potential of the Retezat National Park.
Volunteers increase the eco-tourism attractiveness of the Park
Agent Green and APNR (National Park Administration Retezat) completed their project on marking, accessibility and planning of a new viewing point for the Lolaia waterfall of Retezat National Park .
Lolaia Falls is a spectacular natural attraction located at 1050 meters altitude in the north of the park and is accessible to visitors all year round by a passage called Carnic. This includes 90% of tourists who visit the park annually. Most of them did not know that a 5 minutes deviation from their route could bring about the special beauty of this waterfall where the ecotourism potential was compromised by the manner in which the attraction was flagged and highlighted. Tourists can reach the area by train up to a station called “Ohaba de sub Piatra” or “Subcetatea”. From the station there are buses that go to Carnic. Vehicle access is allowed all year round to Carnic. From here you are only 20 minutes away on foot to the waterfall.
For experienced tourists Agent Green and APNR arranged last year a themed path called “Wolves’ Way”, a challenging and spectacular route of 11 hours running through the entire park from south to north, starting from Cheile Butii (South) and finishing in Carnic (North).
Works began in May 2010 as it was deemed necessary to increase the safety and the ecotourism potential of the park. 68 people participated in the project: employees and volunteers of APNR and Agent Green, mountain scouts and members of local communities. Signs and information boards were mounted in both English and Romanian. Access to the waterfall is on a downhill steep path and therefore the path was suspended and strengthened with wood steps and wood railings. A viewing point was rebuilt with wooden railings and placed in the most appropriate place to observe the falls. In the same place a camera stand was also built for tourists who wish to take group photographs in an ideal position with the waterfall as a background.
The project is part of a wider program through which Agent Green intends to increase the ecotourism potential of the Retezat National Park and to involve local communities in an alternative sustainable development program of ecotourism.
Gabriel Paun, Chairman of Agent Green mentioned: “According to the negotiations with the EU, in only a few months the subsidies to the coal mines of the region will be cut. So far I haven’t heard the politicians having a vision for the people from Valea Jiului and I am afraid that these local people along with other communities around Retezat that will be left without sources of income will start to cut the forest, to poach wildlife and extract other resources from the mountain. However, we intend in the long term to promote the Retezat National Park with the highest standards of ecotourism potential. We believe it’s only in this manner that we can bring Romanian and foreign tourists to the area that will therefore finance local community members to provide quality services. I am convinced that with the involvement of locals in such programs there will be a steep decrease in the number of people interested only in aggressively exploiting the natural resources of the park”.
The project “Viewing point at Lolaia waterfall” was developed in partnership with the Administration of Retezat National Park and completed with the financial support from the Foundation for Partnership and MOL Romania within the “Green Spaces” program.