GWT2P Mission and Vision
Dear visitors and guests, you play an important role in pursuing our mission and vision. We cannot continue to protect nature and wildlife without your understanding and support!
Join Our Partnership With Nature!
We are committed to meet our responsibility to strongly contribute to rural revitalization and green and regenerative growth of our local communities.
We strive to educate and help raise awareness of the importance of civil society participation in the preservation of natural and cultural heritage and the protection of endangered plant and animal species.
We seek to enhance ecological sustainability and raise local living standards by creating meaningful partnerships between our national parks and local communities and by promoting and supporting our local entrepreneurs, their produce and product-based companies, and various services both enjoyable and healthy for you and aligned with your values.
New Consciousness - New Vision
Our vision is a regenerative, sustainable and inclusive life in lasting peace and a healthy and safe natural environment.
Plitvice Lakes NP, HR - Una NP, BA
Municipality of Plitvice Lakes, HR - Town of Bihać, BA
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Tourism in National Parks
Protected areas, particularly World Heritage sites, are some of the main tourist attractions today with growing visitation. More and more people select natural areas rich in biodiversity and unspoiled beauty for an active and recuperative vacation.
That's where our story begins.
Our regional destination has two national parks within strking distance, and tourism, although offering well-known advantages, is now posing a growing threat to the protected ecosystems.
We use parks in new ways nowadays, hoping to enjoy our favourite sports, pastimes and serene landscape there, but often times unaware that because of the amount of tourism many problems arise that contribute to the deterioration of national parks.
Our 2Parks are also faced with imminent danger for both natural and cultural heritage!
Plitvice Lakes are on the one hand threatened by serious overcrowding, especially in the peak season, while Una is facing serious consequences of increased use of the protected area for extreme sports and recreation.
These circumstances have proven highly detrimental and destructive in many protected ecosystems around the world!
Tourism can only be a strong positive force through our joint efforts, only then we can mitigate negative impacts and provide long-term support for protected areas and local communities.
Follow Rules at National Parks!
In many national parks around the world the damage has already been done, but for others who are threatened by the same fate is of crucial importance to act resolutely to prevent further accumulation of negative impacts on protected natural and cultural heritage.
Here are three main impact areas:
- depletion of natural resources - overuse of water resources for hotels, swimming pools and personal use, great pressure on local energy sources, food supply, land degradation for accommodation and other infrastructure, etc.,
- pollution - air and noise pollution, solid waste and littering, increased sewage pollution, etc.,
- physical impacts - construction activities and infrastructure development, deforestation and unsustainable use of land, trampled vegetation and soil, etc.
The key to saving wildlife is to protect their habitats and the quality of the environment, otherwise there is a chance of losing important ecosystems and wildlife on which our survival depends.
National parks and other conservation areas cover only about 15,4 % of the earth's terrestrial area and only 3.4% of the ocean area, not nearly enough to ensure the survival of species and ecological communities alone. (see the "Protected Planet Report 2016" below)
In a world that relentlessly destroys nature, this protected areas are among the last important sites for wildlife, and now even these areas are facing multiple threats.
It is our intention to be among the first to also manage the lands outside national parks in ways that allow as much biodiversity as possible to be maintained.
In a crowd like this, we can't hear nature sounds!
Call to Action
Some of the leading environmental and nature protection organizations have been repeatedly warning of serious problems and calling for global action!
UN Environment (UNEP) & International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
In the "Protected Planet Report 2016", the UNEP and IUCN stated that some of the most biodiverse ecosystems are in great danger!
Link: Protected Planet Report 2016
UNESCO World Heritage Committee
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee presents the annual "List of World Heritage in Danger" - out of 1073 sites, already 54 are in danger!
Link: List of Danger
Raising Public Awareness
"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."
As long as we treat our planet and nature as disposable resources, we are trapped in a closed and self-destructive circle!
The way out of that dangerous trap is through new awareness and joint, proactive work of all people who can contribute to the general well-being and prosperity.
Lake Ecosystem - protected and endangered!
Tourism does represent an important source of income and employment, but at the same time is a potential threat to the very environments that are supposed to be protected.
Parks are set aside for a good reason, they are national treasures and as such primarily available for research and education.
Of course parks are accessible to all those seeking peace and recuperative break from modern life, but all those seeking serenity at national parks are finding a major obstacle - millions others looking for the same thing at the same time.
Let's see what kind of ecological damage we have in consequence of mass tourism:
1. "INCREASED POLLUTION" - rising numbers of tourists with cars may be the biggest threat to protected areas, causing serious air and noise pollution and natural disturbances.
2. "SOLID WASTE ACCUMULATION" - also seen as a major problem, both for national parks and surrounding local communities. Uncontrolled tourism growth leads to enormous amounts of solid waste accumulation that produces considerable damage to ecosystems. In addition, inadequate local waste management infrastructure only worsens one of the most crucial health and environmental health problems.
3. "SOIL & VEGETATION TRAMPLING" - caused by the extensive use of land, without the resting period, that can eventually lead to the loss of biodiversity (elimination of tree seedlings results in the loss of trees, reduction of the species diversity, erosion, ...).
4. "RESOURCE SCARCITY" - visitor overcrowding is a major problem during peak season when the number of visitors surpasses parks capacities. During that time tourists also outnumber the local population which means diversion of resources and services (especially drinking water) from local communities, creating shortages and a serious risk of ecosystem degradation.
5. "INCREASED SEWAGE" - construction of new tourist facilities and often inadequate or non-existent integrated wastewater management system leads to increased sewage pollution that threatens the health of humans and animals. Wastewater pollutes local fresh water resources, creating a serious threat to human, animal, plant, and ecosystem health.
6. "RED ALERT for WILDLIFE" - the areas surrounding national parks, and often areas inside protected parks, are developed for living or accomodation space, agriculture, forestry, etc. leaving protected animal species trapped inside the park. Animals don't recognize artificial boundaries and must move in and out of the parks to feed, mate, or migrate. Many species lives depend on large and undisturbed ecological wildlife corridors, including lands outside of parks.
Example of a Wildlife Corridor
The goal of national parks and primary responsibility is the protection of land, animals, habitats, and the promotion of scientific research and education.
In order to fulfill those tasks, parks need both human and financial resources, at the same time local residents are also largely dependent on tourism as an important source of income and employment.
And precisely because tourism is important to all, nature protection problem requires joint efforts of national parks, local communities and visitors!
Become Part of the Solution
Education and critical thinking are the most important factors in solving problems! By being educated we become a part of the solution and we get more people to care about the problem at hand. Starting to educate people from a young age will allow them to recognize the importance of helping the environment and act on it as they grow up.
During your tour of protected areas learn more about why these particular areas are protected, how fragile protected ecosystems are, and what tourism-related challenges they face.
The more we know, the better we can help to ease the problems of overcrowding by simply modifying our behaviour and turning our visits into something more than just rambling.
Please see our subpage Natural Heritage Gems designed to help you with being more informed traveler, thank you!
Some Fundamental Knowledge
Why is biodiversity so important?
Each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play!
Ecosystems filter and purify water and air, regulate climatic processes, breakdown wastes and recycle nutrients, safeguard against flooding, maintain soil fertility, and provide natural resources such as food.
All agriculture depends fundamentally on biodiversity, as do marine and freshwater food resources.
Biodiversity is the basis of human existence, our life support system!
What is the importance of wildlife?
Wildlife includes all animals (mammals, birds, fish, etc) that live in the wild in all ecosystems (deserts, forests, rain forests, plains, grasslands, and other areas) and envelopes all kinds of undomesticated life from microorganisms to vegetation and fungi.
Each species functions with a specific role – as a predator, a prey, a decomposer, a preserver, and in this way helps to protect and maintain ecological balance.
Wildlife plays a crucial role in maintaining the fragile ecological balance of our planet!
If we take into account how much each species is vital to the existence of life as we know it, we will understand how worrisome is the information that our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals.
Scientists predict we may lose 50% of the planet's species by the end of the century!!
The main cause of this process is human activity!!
On September 20, 2014, the UN Headquarters in New York was lit up with massive projections as part of a global call for action on global climate change – Racing Extinction!
Today we know that the greatest threat that faces many species is the widespread destruction of habitats. The most endangered is the population of wild vertebrates. We can do at least something to protect endangered species and their habitats.
- Learn about endangered species in area where you live or vacation - learn how interesting and important wildlife is.
- Secure garbage in shelters - avoid attracting wild animals into developed areas where they must navigate a landscape full of human hazards.
- Plant native plants in your garden - provide food and shelter for native wildlife, attract native insects like bees and butterflies to pollinate your plants.
- Reduce the use of herbicides and pesticide in your garden - they are hazardous pollutants that affect wildlife at many levels.
- Report animal cruelty - shooting, trapping, or forcing a threatened or endangered animal into captivity is cruel and illegal.
- Volunteer - visit protected areas, wildlife refuge, or other open space and learn more interesting facts.
Have you heard about the Earth Overshoot Day?
That's a not so happy day when humanity's senseless demand for ecological resources and services exceed what our planet can regenerate and rejuvenate in the whole year.
Earth Overshoot Day 2017 landed on August 2, a new „black“ record!!
Overshoot Day is calculated by the Global Footprint Network, an international nonprofit organization with the mission to help end ecological overshoot.
They compute Earth Overshoot Day by dividing the planet's biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity's ecological footprint (humanity's demand for that year), multiplying by 365 days.
Year by year, the calculation proves that:
We are depleting Earth's natural resources at the expense of our future generations who will have little or no resources left which are of vital importance for survival of humanity and all species on Earth!!
Before the 70s the Ecological Footprint was lower than Earth’s biocapacity, meaning that no overshoot was present.
Since then, the overshoot day has come earlier and earlier, and now nature inevitably strikes back with widely distributed weather anomalies and severe conditions we all witness!
Help Preserve and Protect
We can all do our part for nature with hardly any effort!
Here are some extremely simple protection measures we can start implementing right away:
1. "PLAN & PREPARE" - whenever your life circumstances allow it, schedule your trip to protected areas avoiding a time of high use when a negative impact is already at a very high level - avoid peak season.
2. “REDUCE CAR USE" - upon arrival, park your car and enjoy active travel such as walking and cycling for your tours and day trips in destination. Active travel is key in tackling air and noise pollution and has numerous health benefits.
3. "STAY ON THE PATH" - stay on durable surfaces, such as established trails and routes. Avoid shortcuts! This is very important in order to prevent trampling and vegetation destruction.
4. "EXPLORE LOCAL" - from accommodation, recreation to culture and entertainment, after visiting protected areas focus your attention on surounding local communities. There are many equally beautiful options within close vicinity of our 2Parks, from natural beauty to interesting and diverse events. Eat locally, not in the chain brands who tend to waste a large amount of food & monumental amounts of energy. Eat locally because it's better for your overall health, it tastes better, and it also gives back to the local economy and community. Go meatless at least once a week, the meat industry is one of the world's worst polluters and top contributors to climate change!
5. "REDUCE PACKAGING WASTE" - prior to your trip remove all packaging possible or choose items that come in compostable packaging. Help us to prevent litter from building up in national parks and local communities.
6. "REDUCE PLASTIC USE" - avoid using plastic materials whenever you can, use reusable water bottles & refillable coffee cups, recycle as much as possible, never throw plastic in the nature because it causes serious pollution and poses a great danger to both humans and the natural environment.
7. "DON'T LITTER" - place garbage and waste in appropriate containers or take with you, never throw a piece of trash down on the ground, find nearest garbage or recycle containers and throw it away properly.
8. "BE ENERGY & WATER WISE" - practice the same saving methods you use in your own home: turn off and unplug appliances, lights and switches when leaving your room/apartment, take shorter showers instead of baths, hang your towels to dry, rather than getting them washed. The more frequent and prolonged dry periods in summer and excessive water demand from tourism puts a serious strain on local water resources, causing water shortages and suffering for both people and the wildlife.
9. "COLLECT ONLY MEMORIES" - plants, rocks and artifacts are protected items and should be left for all to enjoy.
10. “RESPECT the WILDLIFE" - observe wildlife from a safe and respectful distance, don't disturb or feed wild animals.
11. “FOLLOW the GUIDELINES" - follow the instructions regarding recreation and leisure activities you can do in protected areas.
12."SUPPORT LOCAL" - apply these environmental measures to the areas beyond the boundaries of national parks, respect local culture, economy and environment no matter where you are in the world.
There is one more important thing!
Let's Preserve Natural Sounds in National Parks!
Together we can make a difference, thank you for caring and participating!
Embrace Environmentally Friendly Travel!
Tourism can significantly contribute to environmental protection and local sustainable development. A balance between social, economic and ecological elements on a local community level can be achieved by creating a sustainable system that features ecotourism in its original meaning.
Your role in that system is extremely important, travel doesn’t have to be environmentally destructive!
Moreover, it is our human obligation to prevent the depletion of natural resources on which the livelihood of local people depends. We all have the power to make things better by following the above steps and, if necessary, demand more eco-conscious of the places we visit.
Let's see how is Ecotourism defined:
- "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education." (International Ecotourism Society, TIES)
- “Environmentally responsible travel to relatively undisturbed natural areas in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present), that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide beneficially active socio-economical involvement for local people.” (International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN)
At the same time, by enjoying local produce and participating in various interesting activities across our local communities we can jointly support further development of ecotourism and help revitalize life in rural communities.
Discover our local, embrace ecotourism that conserves the natural environment and sustains the well-being of local people!
Welcome to GWT2P destination!