Introducing ‘Leave No Trace’ in Macedonia

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As part of the Regional Economic Growth project, the Western Balkans Geotourism Network gave a ‘Leave No Trace’ trainers seminar in Macedonia for 5 directors/managers working in Outdoor Tourism and the National Park Service.

Emilija Fildishevska
Kiril Ruzhinov
Katarina Georgievska
Aleksandr Klenov
Valeria Klenova
Jovan Jovanov

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The training took place deep in the back country close to Demir Kapija, at a disused hunting lodge. The location was suggested by Emilijia Fildisevska from Macedonia Travel and was perfect for our purposes. The surrounding forest and a nearby river were pristine. The immediate vicinity of the lodge showed the effects of careless visitors, trash and campfire rings. Before we began we cleared up the worst of the rubbish.

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To become recognised LNT trainers, the delegates had to complete a two day, one night training program in which they taught the 7 principles of outdoor ethics:

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
Repackage food to minimize waste.
Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
In pristine areas:
Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

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Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find
Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

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Minimize Campfire Impacts
Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

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Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

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All the delegates completed the training and their certificates ‘are in the post’.

If you would like to find out more about how R.E.G. and the Western Balkans Network are raising standards in new tourism in the Balkans – join our group on Linked In at: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Western-Balkans-Geotourism-Network – or contact me on jack@montenegroholiday.com

You can find out more about Leave No Trace outdoor ethics: https://lnt.org

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How to use the Geotourism MapGuide

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GeoTourismMapGuide

Online Map that captures and conveys the authenticity of the region through the eyes of people who know best – You!

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What are people posting? What can you share?

Seeks to promote and enhance the region’s natural, historic, and cultural sites to domestic and international visitors seeking authentic travel experiences

What can I nominate?

  • Historical/ Cultural Site, District, Village, Town
  • Festival and Event
  • Outdoor Adventure
  • Natural Area
  • Local Artist, Musician or Craftsperson
  • Regional Tours
  • Local Businesses (e.g. locally owned food, drink and accommodation provider)
  • Local Points of Interest (Market, Statue, Religious Structure, Unique shop, etc.)
  • Participation Opportunities (Voluntourism Opportunities)

… anything that is authentic to Western Balkans and sustains or enhances the character of the region.

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Open the map!

What is Geotourism?

Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographic character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

A test for inclusion on the MapGuide: “Is the spot, attraction, business, activity or experience distinctive to our town, area or region, and is it authentic to The Western Balkans?”

GeotourismPrinciples

–          Promotes and supports character, tradition and cultural heritage of the site

–          Promotes and supports positive practices of environmental and heritage protection

–          Promotes and supports involvement and prosperity of local community

–          Offer and method of work focused on authentic and quality offer

 

How?

  1. Go to:

http://www.balkansgeotourism.travel/participate.php

And create your profile

  1. Click on +ADD NEW NOMINATION
  1. Select the best category for your nomination
  1. Follow the steps and add full description of your nomination:

Click SAVE AND EXIT at the bottom of the page to move from Text to Media to Contacts to Mapping

  1. Once you have entered all the information, change the status of your nomination and submit it to the editor for review, approval and activation (at the bottom of the page)
  1. Click SAVE
  1. If you want to link your nomination to other nominations on the MapGuide and/ or the themes, click on  CONTENT RELATIONSHIPS  at the top of the page and click every nomination that could be associated with yours then click SAVE             to keep the changes.

If you want to add another nominations, click in the top left corner and repeat the steps.

  1. Contact the Country portal director or the editor to review your nominations and activate them.