Conserving Europe's wilderness with PAN Parks
Where in the world?
The PAN Parks Foundation works to protect Europe’s wilderness, the continent’s most undisturbed areas of nature. PAN Parks (Protected Area Network), the only European-wide organisation focusing on the protection of wilderness areas, applies a truly integrated approach combining wilderness protection and sustainable tourism development.
Their work assists National Parks in their network to develop tourism in a way that benefits all interests in and around the park - local residents, locally owned small businesses, wildlife and conservation interests, as well as providing a quality visitor experience.
How Exodus helps PAN Parks?
Exodus has been organising trips to the Oulanka National Park, part of the PAN Parks network in Finland since 2005. Our team in Oulanka are PAN Parks certified local partners and share our commitment to sustainable development and the PAN Parks idea.
From the winter of 2006/7 to the winter of 2010/11, for each client who visited Oulanka, Exodus contributed EU 20 to PAN Parks. PAN Parks then directed the total annual funds to a chosen project in the less developed parks in their network. In this way we managed to support a wide range of projects around Europe with a total of EU 28,000 over a 5 year period.
For 2012 and beyond Exodus continues to support various PAN Parks projects, and donations will be linked to the needs of each project, rather than the number of clients travelling to Oulanka.
PAN Parks projects we have supported so far
2007. Retezat NP, Romania. Total donation: EU 7,000
As Romania’s first national park, Retezat NP is well-preserved and hosts a large wilderness area containing many rare plants and animals. A network of well-marked hiking trails guarantees a unique experience to visitors and the chance to discover tracks of many animals. The Exodus contribution helped build an information centre and provided new maps for visitors, which enables the public greater access to the wilderness area.
2008. Rila NP, Bulgaria. Total donation EU 5,220
With over 150 lakes, the wildlife in Rila NP is extremely rich, however the species of the Balkan Chamois are in danger of becoming extinct, due to the threat of poaching. The population has stabilised over the last five years and the aim now is to increase their number in the National Park. Our donations scheme has aided the development of an eco-trail in the park, with information boards and leaflets en-route. Staff in the park have also been trained to guide on the trail, whilst a public awareness campaign involving local and national media has been initiated.
2009. Borjomi-Kharagaouli NP, Georgia. Total donation: EU 5,720
Our donations scheme was part of a wider project designed to create new tourist maps in order to allow visitors to hike without a guide. The maps contain information on the National Park as well as PAN Parks and a detailed description of the trail. Our support also helped create 16 information boards for the National Park at the seven entrances, tourist shelters, ranger shelters, visitor centres and in the town centre of Borjomi.
2010. Majella National Park in Abruzzo, Italy. Total donation: EU 5,320
Majella is part of the Apennine range that makes the backbone of Italy. It hosts one third of the entire Italian flora and a great variety of protected animals. As well as stunning flora the conservation work of the park management means that many previously rare animals are returning to the park in significant numbers - these include herbivores such as red deer, roe deer and the prince of the peaks - the Abruzzi chamois. The return of these species also mean that the carnivore population is increasing - with the Appenine wolf and bear making a come back.
Our 2010 donation contributed to a scheme known as Montagna Madre which raised awareness of the park through images and stories. Details can be viewed here: http://storiesofwilderness.panparks.org
2011. Majella National Park in Abruzzo, Italy. Total donation: EU 4,760
The Montagna Madre project is to run for 3 years. Exodus continues to support the field work, the preparation of the documentary, the communication and promotion of the project in 2011.
What can you do to help?
If you would like to donate directly to PAN Parks, please visit their website: www.panparks.org. The website includes a link where you can donate by credit card, and it also gives a full overview of the work undertaken by the Foundation.
Would you like to know more?