Kozara protection and restoration, Bosnia Herzegovina

The aim of Klekovoca Mountaineering Society is to create conditions for mountaineering activities, protect nature through educational activities, construction and maintenance of hiking trails, organising activities and events, all giving special attention to protection and conservation of Mount Kozara.

Kozara National Park is one of the most visited protected areas in Bosnia Herzegovina which draws over 100,000 visitors annually. Zeciji Kozara is one of the best known and loved routes in the park to a natural rocky viewpoint.  However it is also one of the most heavily used and the trail is now severely damaged as are surrounding habitats, as visitors create new tracks to avoid eroded ones. The project will
– create an alternative 4 km long route, to protect the fragile habitats of hop hornbeam, flowering ash, yew and their associated wildlife and watercourses, minimising negative human impact on local habitat and biodiversity
– restore habitat by planting 1500 saplings of European yew
– engage outdoor enthusiasts through hands-on work and volunteering activities
– promote the new path by producing leaflets and organising guided walks for the local community.

The Update

The project has successfully created a 4.2km path for hikers to enjoy, with viewpoints at which to rest and appreciate the beautiful, mountainous surroundings. This involved removing debris, widening the path, constructing a suspension bridge, creating handrails across rocky terrain, and putting up signs. Part of the trail is now proving to be of use for mountaineering training, mountain rescue service exercises, Civil Protection training, and Air Force search and rescue.

1,500 yew saplings were planted to restore habitat in the area and aid in the recovery of this locally rare and endangered tree. Local forestry school students are now able to study the growth of these trees, and the developing restoration of the habitat.

On September 28th 2019, a guided tour was organised, with over 200 people attending. It was a great success, with people particularly enjoying guides demonstrating techniques for traversing the rocky terrain by handrails.

Image: Zeciji Kamen Waterfall