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Initiative to Turn Part of Sar Mountains into Protected National Park

Environmental activists and civil society organizations from Tetovo got together on Thursday for a debate on the future of Sar Mountains, and the proposal to declare parts of it as a protected park. Representatives from the Institute for development of communities NGO from Tetovo and the Macedonian ecological society said that the entire region would benefit if parts of Sar Mountains are put under protection, and together with the part in neighbouring Kosovo which already enjoys the same status, become one of the largest such areas in Europe.

"The problem is that there are different interests clashing over the environmental protection of Sar Mountains. Lumberjacks believe that, if a national park is declared, logging will stop, but our proposal is that only one part of the mountain is put under protected status, and the rest remains open for development", Dime Meloski from the Macedonian ecological society said.

According to him, a national park status would also allow the people from Tetovo and other towns around Sar Mountains to develop sustainable tourism, branding of products and gain from more sustainable use of natural resources.

University professor Ljupco Meloski added that Sar Mountains has unique wildlife created over the centuries, due to its height and sheer size, and that is the main reason it should be protected from illegal logging and settlement.

"The main point is that we need to prepare a study that would examine wildlife, and the borders of the zone that should be protected. Existing scientific studies and data are too narrow to be used in this process. A broad study would help institutionalize the process of declaring Sar Mountains as a national park", professor Meloski added.


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