A national park on the Intracoastal soon. Municipalities are for yes!

Park narodowy na Międzyodrzu

No new national park has been established in Poland in the past 22 years, despite the fact that only 1.1 percent is strictly protected. country’s surface area. The figure averages 3.4 percent for European countries. It looks like the situation will improve, and a national park will soon be established on the Intracoastal. All the more so since the authorities of all three municipalities where the protected area would be located have already agreed.

Lower Oder Valley National Park

A national park on the Intersea was planned as early as 1992. At the time, however, local residents voiced their opposition. Local anglers, fishermen and hunters protested out of fear that their activities would be restricted. And local authorities have expressed doubts about imposing various bans in a strictly protected area. Therefore, the venture ended up with only the Lower Oder Valley Landscape Park in 1993. This left a feeling of some dissatisfaction, especially since on the German side of the border two years later the Brandenburg authorities established the “Nationalpark Unteres Odertal.”

Fear of economic losses is a common reason for protests against the creation of national parks in Poland. For example, in 2021, the authorities of Bieszczady, Przemyśl and Bircza counties wrote a petition to Prime Minister Morawiecki. In it, they expressed opposition to the creation of new forms of nature conservation in their area, including. Turnitic PN. Why? They recognized that implementing the EU’s biodiversity strategy would reduce the local government’s income and harm the entire region. Fortunately, not everywhere local authorities see a conflict between the interests of local residents and nature conservation.

Local governments backed a national park on the Intracoastal Waterway

The head of the municipality of Widuchowa, Pawel Wróbel, supports the creation of the Lower Oder Valley PN. He notes that the Międzyodrze area is naturally segregated and does not interfere with any investment in the municipality. He also stresses that public consultations with residents will be necessary at a later stage. Also Malgorzata Schwartz, the mayor of Kolbaskov, says she sees no contraindication to the creation of a national park on the Międzyodrze River and is taking steps in this direction, although the timing of its creation will depend on the legislature.

Until recently, the approval of the mayor of Gryfino municipality was still missing. However, on December 6 this year. founders of the initiative to establish a national park met with the local authorities and the very next day the group of initiators of the project announced: “We note with satisfaction that already all three municipalities: Gryfino, Widuchowa and Kolbaskowo have declared their support for the project, and it is the local governments and the local community that are key to the success of the venture.” The meeting discussed a resolution of intent that will initiate work on the creation of a strict protection area. But above all, they discussed the benefits that a national park will bring to the Międzyodrze River.

The inter-oceanic European Amazon

The biggest benefit will be the preservation of these extraordinary natural areas. Międzyodrze is an area located in the heart of the Lower Oder Valley, between two branches of the river: the Western Oder and the Eastern Oder, from Widuchowa to the Forest Canal (Odyńca). We call it the European Amazon because of its wildness and enormous biodiversity. The area, composed of bogs, wet meadows, canals, floodplains and lakes, is mostly inaccessible to humans. For that, many species of plants and animals live there. The birds themselves are approx. 220 species, including 125 breeding and 21 nesting species from the “Red List of Polish Birds.”

However, protecting the Lower Oder Valley does not mean putting the needs of nature above the needs of people. The national park on the Międzyodrze River will contribute to the development of tourism, thereby improving the economic situation of local residents. Fishing and fishing will continue to be possible, and the canals will be nurtured and protected from overgrowth. The Polish part of the riverside is much more wild and naturally interesting than the one on the German side. Therefore, we expect an influx of tourists from across the western border.

The national park will help better protect the surrounding cities from floods and droughts, as the Intersrand is a natural reservoir of water – it takes in water during floods and gives it back when drought comes. Fish, on the other hand, can use it as a refuge from environmental disaster. In 2022, the disaster on the Oder River, some of them saved themselves by just entering the local branches of the river.

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