Bohemian Switzerland to open 150 kilometers of trails for '24 tourist season

Still, many locations in the national park remain closed as the area continues to recover from the devastating 2022 forest fire. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.01.2024 13:06:00 (updated on 27.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic's Bohemian Switzerland National Park is set to offer hikers more than 150 kilometers of marked and maintained trails for the upcoming 2024 tourist season, park spokesperson Tomáš Salov has announced through a press release. The area will open additional trails this year as it recovers from the devastating 2022 forest fire.

Despite this, large parts of Bohemian Switzerland remains closed. Concerns about support for the park were raised in an open letter to Prime Minister Petr Fiala sent by residents and entrepreneurs in the area last week. The region continues to seek support in recovery effort, emphasizing the impact of closed tourist routes.

Petr Kříž, the director of the national park administration, highlighted the diverse landscapes visitors can explore along these trails, including rocky viewpoints, deep ravines, primeval beech forests, and areas regenerating their flora.

Popular destinations such as iconic Pravčická Archway (Pravčická brána), the Kyjov Valley, and Dolský Mill will be accessible, as well as boat trips through the Wild Gorge. Kříž estimates that it would take more than a week for visitors to explore the entire network of marked routes.

Economic damages for 2022 and 2023 in the region exceeded two billion crowns, according to the open letter signatories, who express frustration about closed trails impacting local livelihoods. The closure of key tourist destinations has left hotels and guesthouses struggling, with jobs lost and fees reinstated.

In response, the National Park Administration asserts that the extensive network of trails prepared for the new season results from interventions carried out in 2023. Last year, the administration conducted extensive forestry interventions along marked tourist routes, addressing issues like bark beetle overpopulation.

Despite the challenges, the administration emphasizes ongoing efforts to evaluate data and conduct interventions to ensure the safety of Bohemian Switzerland's unique natural values. Director Kříž assures that plans for the care of tourist infrastructure will be presented in the coming weeks, and closures are not anticipated to be permanent.

The landscape of Czech Switzerland has faced significant challenges in recent years, including bark beetle overpopulation after 2018 and the 2022 fire which affected over 1000 hectares. While recovery efforts are underway, concerns persist about the pace of restoration and access to vital tourist routes.

A public prosecutor has filed charges against a former volunteer park ranger for starting the 2022 fire, and the individual faces up to 15 years in prison. The park administration remains committed to balancing safety and access to preserve the natural wonders of Bohemian Switzerland.

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