Czech president backs public access to Lány Chateau forest

The Lány nature reserve has in the past been open only to members of the President's Office, but new plans could see this change. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 18.10.2023 11:26:00 (updated on 18.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

President Petr Pavel via a Tuesday press release announced he supports the opening of the Lány forest, located near the presidential mansion west of Prague, to the public. In a meeting with experts, including national park directors, Pavel discussed the possibility of connecting the management of the forest – currently under private ownership – with that of a potential nearby national park in the future.

The chateau at Lány serves as the summer residence for Czech presidents, while the Presidential Office manages the adjacent forest. Pavel envisions the Lány forest as an opportunity to safeguard and encourage biodiversity across different ecosystems. His aim is to create an environment where rare animal and plant species can thrive undisturbed.

A new national park?

On top of this, Environment Minister Petr Hladík supports the establishment of a new national park in the Křivoklát area, which is near the Lány mansion and forest. According to Pavel, who is behind the idea, Křivoklát is deserving of protection through the creation of a national park. However, municipalities in the Krivoklat area have voiced their opposition to the park's development.

"I not only want to facilitate the necessary discussion but also lead by example whenever possible," Pavel said.

The proposed and so-called Křivoklát National Park has encountered resistance from the Association of Municipalities of Křivoklát, which represents 28 towns and villages in the area. The association argues that the Křivoklát landscape has been shaped over hundreds of years primarily by foresters and forest managers. They contend that the area's nature is not the result of spontaneous natural processes and that designating the area as a national park would ultimately be harmful due to excess tourism.

Better protection in future, govt says

The Environment Ministry counters these arguments by emphasizing that the new national park would safeguard a large portion of the Křivoklát area, known for its diverse and extensive forest complex, and provide it with more security and higher levels of maintenance. The area is considered the largest forest complex within the Czech Republic, boasting a rich variety of wildlife and natural features.

The future of the Lány forest and the potential Křivoklát National Park remain uncertain due to conflicting opinions and concerns from various stakeholders. As the discussions continue, President Pavel hopes to find a balanced solution that will preserve the valued natural resources while also accommodating the needs and interests of the local communities.

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