Experience exchange with Swedish colleagues
In early autumn Polistovsky Reserve’s staff visited Sweden according to the environmental project of continued exchange of knowledge in management for directors and staff of protected areas in Sweden and Russia.
From the Swedish "store mosse" means "bid mosses", and there are really lots of mosses in the park - mainly sphagnum mosses that grow on a raised bog. The bog takes almost the whole territory of the park, and is very similar to our, Polistovsky bog, but a bit smaller. Park was established to protect rare species of birds, including listed in the Red Book. About 40 km of trails is paved for visitors of the "Store mosse".
In addition, there were active peats on the territory of the park, and you still can see drainage channels and rails by which extracted raw materials were transported. In the middle of the last century, the peat extraction was stopped, and now the park staff is carrying out restoration of the raised bog at former peat territory. There is a special program In the European Union to restore these bog areas called «Ad(d)mire».
There is a special Environmental Protection Agency in Sweden, that regulates all nature protecting work, but also county administrative boards (regional administrations) and municipalities are greatly involved in these activities. Local people are involved in the life of PA too: they make decisions about setting up new territories and participate in PA’s events. It is also important that municipal budgets constitute a big part of the budgets of the protected areas. National parks and nature reserves, in turn, are always ready to cooperate with public. For example in "Store Mosse" they hold regular meetings with locals, where they talk about the news of the park and periodically organize meetings with interesting people. Polistovsky Reserve staff took part in one of these events with presentations about nature protection in Russia and about our territory. Also there is a "Friends Club" of Store Mosse park consisting mostly of local people who are actively help the park, for example, one of the eco-trails was fully built by the hands of volunteers.
Another interesting place visited during the trip, was a lake - one of the largest lakes in southern Sweden. The lake is dotted with lots of beautiful islands with lots of birds. In recent years a project of creation of a new national park which will include a part of Åsnen lake is designe.
Today there are lots of discussions of the future protected area with the residents of the coast of the lake. Most of them support the organizers of the park, since lots of them are engaged in touristic business: they offer accommodation for visitors of the lake, boat rentals, canoeing, fishing. So the creation of a protected natural area on the lake is very advantageous for them, because the park will attract new tourists and also park administration will regulate visiting the territory, will make tourists follow safety regulations(rules) and be careful to nature. All this this things are wery important for local people.
The next step of the program of experience exchange is planned arrival of Swedish colleagues to Polistovsky Reserve next spring. This event will be an excellent opportunity to share experiences in the development of ecotourism and it can become a basis for further cooperation and interaction between Polistovsky and Store Mosse and may be other Swedish protected areas.