National Park Risnjak recently signed a contract securing EU funds in the amount of 5.7 million kuna, reports Novi list on September 3, 2017.
NP Risnjak aims to build a Volunteer Centre to expand existing accommodation facilities and educational activities within the Park. The entire project is worth 6.6 million kuna; 5.7 million was provided by the EU, 600.000 is coming from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, and the NP will procure the remaining 300.000 kuna.
Director of the NP Risnjak Miljenko Gašparac explained they applied for the funds provided by the EU programme that promotes sustainable use of natural heritage in national parks and nature parks. “The Volunteer Centre project will be carried out in four phases. The first phase will see reconstruction and expansion of the old dairy plant that was later repurposed into a toy factory. This entails construction work and plumbing, as well as engineering planning and supervision. In the second phase, we need to procure equipment for future volunteers: hand-operated tools, motorised mowers, binoculars, cameras… The third part implies devising a visitor management system, and the fourth is related to marketing”, Gašparac said.
The project should be completed in 2021, but the park management is hoping to finish all the work a year earlier. Construction work in the first phase will be the most challenging part and is supposed to last a year and a half, starting at the beginning of 2018.
The NP is in dire need of a volunteers’ centre with new accommodation facilities, as it currently only disposes of 10 beds. The new object will dispose of 43 new beds and will allow the NP to focus on tourism and organise educational programmes in nature for school children, as well as to accommodate nature lovers, hikers and volunteers. The object has to potential to positively affect future development of the area, as it’s located in the centre of Crni Lug village.
Apart from the Volunteer Centre, the NP Risnjak is about to work on educational trails and view points around the park. The three trails measure 17 kilometres in total, and will soon get equipped with redesigned information boards, benches, shelters, and a parking lot. Gašparac said they are hoping to bring to life the idea of writer Mladen Kušec, who once proposed that stories about the mountain’s history should be installed along the trail, introducing visitors to the origin of the name Risnjak.
The project is worth 597.000 kuna and is entirely financed by EU funds; the revamped trails are supposed to open before the end of 2018.