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"Officials are categorically against the appearance of new reserves"

How Russians create on Sakhalin the first national natural park

Residents of Sakhalin and some Russian cities decided to unite and use their "Far Eastern hectare" to create the country's first national wildlife park. It will appear in the area of ​​the unique mountain range Zhdanko on the east coast of the island - in a place where rocky capes coexist with the cozy quiet bays of the Bay of Terpeniya. The task is to save a unique site of wild nature from private development and keep it accessible. Enthusiasts expect to get 29 ha north of Tikhaya Bay. At 22 ha contracts with the Ministry of Forestry have already been concluded.

"Officials are categorically against the appearance of new reserves"
Photo: courtesy of Roman Shatrov
In the last 20 years in Russia, the number and area of ​​specially protected natural areas is declining. Sakhalin was not an exception. As noted in the regional development program for protected areas, 21 of them has been eliminated over the past decade. Disappeared reserves, sanctuaries, nature monuments of regional importance. The total area occupied by PAs in the region decreased by 27%, which in quantitative terms amounted to almost 306 thousand hectares.
In this situation, it is not necessary to expect that local authorities will create new natural reserves. The distribution of land for the "Far Eastern hectare" program may lead to the disappearance of rare natural corners. One of them - on the capes Silent and Red - the locals decided to take under their protection.
At the end of last year, 15 people created an initiative group and invited people to join their project to organize a national park "Cape Tikhiy". The deputies and housewives, builders and scientists, musicians and businessmen, representatives of other professions joined forces. They are enthusiasts from Moscow and Vladivostok, cities of the Sakhalin region.
One of the initiators of the project, a resident of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Roman Shatrov, explains the choice of a place for the creation of the park by its uniqueness.

"This is a tourist mecca of Sakhalin, a visiting card of the island," says the environmentalist. - The coast and bays are the most attractive sites. Everywhere on the island, they are built up by villas, villas and VIP-bases with concrete fences. Soon the businessmen will start to climb, but there will not be room for ordinary people. Such places must first of all be preserved. From Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the distance is about 130 km, which adds to the threat of bay construction.
Roman Shatrov believes that the creators of the park had time to submit applications, and they were lucky to take a place.
- We have a bureaucratic way of thinking on Sakhalin. They try to develop everything only around Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. They do not want to invest in roads. Serious large tourist complexes also do not want. And the campgrounds we want to develop are not interesting to them - they do not represent themselves in tents. They are like that: by car to arrive, unload, immediately in the house on the base to sleep, in a steam bath, to have a shish kebab and tomorrow - home to work. A vacation to spend in Thailand, - said Shatrov.  

In private places, private traders will come when they build up the whole coast near the capital of the region. And the first neighbors of the initiative group have already appeared. The investment portal of the Sakhalin Oblast presented a project for the construction of a tourist eco-recreation center in the Tikhaya Bay. He has no relation to the "Far Eastern hectare" program, the site is in the reserve lands. According to Roman Shatrov, there are many such bases around Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, but they do not pay for themselves. Their rich people mostly keep their friends for themselves.
"We do not intersect with them," says the public figure. - They are right in the Quiet Bay itself, and we are to the north behind the cape of this bay. From the very headland and further through the next bay north along the coast. To us while the road is not present and it is very good. There goes a trail and you have to climb a rope or go around the cape on low tide. This is for us a natural fencing, so that the "kebabs" do not climb with their garbage.
From private development managed to save the favorite vacation spot of the islanders. Zhdanko ridge is a basalt slab that has risen from the bottom of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk almost vertically. A small section on the eastern slope of the ridge has the status of a complex nature monument of regional importance. Foothills and capes are not under protection. Meanwhile, there are unique natural sites and popular tourist places, including the Pugachev mud volcano.
Initially, enthusiasts planned to take 40 ha. Those wishing to give their hectare in favor of the park enough. The last group of young people from Altai joined the project. The concept "Investment hectare" helped. It gives an opportunity for Russians to master their hectares remotely.
One problem - the documents are drawn up for a long time. The performers encountered errors in the papers, because of them everything was delayed.
- Errors were in writing the names of the applicants, the rooms SNILS, - recalls Roman Shatrov. - Sometimes they forgot to write the address of one of the applicants of the collective application. But it can be understood. With the advent of the state program "Far Eastern hectare", many new jobs appeared among the authorized bodies, and the staff remained the same.

The initiative group expects to receive all the papers on its plots by the summer. A concept for the development of the park and an agreement on the rules for the use of hectares are being prepared. The park will invite employees of the Botanical Garden of Vladivostok. They will have to explore the territory and identify places where plants from the Red Book grow. A map will appear. It will allow to combine recreational infrastructure with a rare ecosystem.
Unique capes, coves and foothills of Zhdanko ridge will retain their virgin beauty and will be accessible to all residents and guests of the island.
"In the summer we will collect and take out the garbage from the territory," says Roman Shatrov. - I think the first national park in Russia will be opened in August.
On the coast it is planned to create areas for camping, ecological trails and routes, stairs and gazebos. Castles and springs will be equipped. Volunteers will work. A summer camp will be arranged for them.

- We plan to create a public organization. This allows you to find money for the project, - says the environmentalist. "We are now obliged to cherish this land and invest in it." We have experience in writing applications for social and environmental projects. Have already received the first 110 thousand rubles to create a park. We think that we will continue to act this way.
In case there is a philanthropist or you can get into a good program, investment projects have been developed. There is a minimum - half a million rubles, there is a project for many millions.
- The officials always have more expenses at times, - Roman Shatrov is sure. - Any public organization with money only for travel, food for volunteers and building materials will make five times more and ten times cheaper.
On the absence of tourists can not speak. According to Shatrov, for a season these places are visited by thousands of people. This year, the initiative group will monitor to know the exact figures.
An example of enthusiasts was contagious. According to Shatrov, now he is helping another group of ten people apply for the creation of such a national park, but only in another part of Sakhalin.
"Officials are categorically against the creation of new reserves," explains the public figure. - The presence of any, even the smallest of them, requires Minles regular reporting, funding security raids and much more. However, we hope that by creating our park at the foot of the Zhdanko Range, in a few years we will be able to ask the authorities to increase the area of ​​its protected area.
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