Конкурс на обустройство экотроп

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What is an "Ecological trail"

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Why are eco-trails needed?

The first projects of this kind were called "nature study trails", because the main goal of creating such a trail is environmental education and even education of visitors. Such expressions as “nature paths”, “educational paths” are often used. Now the term “ecological path”, abbreviated as “ecopath”, has received a steady spread.

The main task of the ecotrail is to help a person better understand the living world that surrounds him, to show the beauty and diversity of nature. During the journey, people expand their knowledge about the nature around us, about who inhabits it, about the processes and amazing phenomena that occur in it. People learn not just to look, but to notice various natural landmarks everywhere, and most importantly, to see how human activity affects the state of the environment. For many, this awakens a desire to learn more about the world around them.

The ecological trail helps regulate the recreational load on ecosystems: it creates conditions in which the main flow of people moves along predetermined “corridors” without spreading randomly over a large area. This helps to reduce damage to the soil and vegetation cover of vulnerable ecosystems and reduces animal disturbance.

Regulation of the flow of tourists, in turn, facilitates the monitoring of recreational loads, managing the number of visitors and monitoring compliance with the established regime for the use and protection of the territory.

Another important task of organizing eco-trails is to educate a person in a culture of careful behavior in relation to the natural environment. In the modern world, this is a necessary component of the entire culture of a civilized and responsible member of society.

Categories of ecotrails?

Ecological trails are divided into groups according to various criteria. Perhaps the main criterion is the length. This criterion is very relative and depends to a large extent on the size of the territory and the objects on display, as well as on the category of visitors for whom the ecological trail is designed. 

In one area, depending on the size, you can organize a trail designed for several days of hiking, as well as create trails for a one-day visit. 

Of course, trails designed for younger children and older visitors are shorter and easier to walk than routes for experienced and trained hikers. However, it is pointless to try to limit the use of the trail to one specific category of users. But on the other hand, it is possible to develop various excursions and routes for one trail, based on different target groups.

Trails can be distinguished:

  • according to the way of movement (pedestrian, horseback, bicycle, automobile, etc.),

  • according to the configuration of the track (linear, semicircular and ring, branched),

  • according to the saturation of information,

  • according to other characteristics.

But the main parameter for the classification of ecological trails is their purpose. Here we can distinguish the following main categories, each of which has its own specifics:

  • tourist,

  • pleasure,

  • educational.

How ecotrails are created?

The creation of an eco-trail begins with a group of specialists studying the natural conditions, interesting objects, traditional types of recreation and economic use that have traditionally developed in a given area. This affects what the length, purpose and type of trail will be in this case.

After that, a preliminary scheme of the ecotrail route was developed. The set of criteria used depends on particular conditions, but three main ones are always used:

  • attractiveness,

  • accessibility and patency,

  • saturation with information.

The attractiveness of the trail is what can interest the visitor: the beauty of the surrounding nature, some unique objects, the brightness of the impressions received. The route should include beautiful views, but at the same time be different from others. Most often, this can be achieved by a variety of basic objects of inspection. Also, the equipment and design of eco-trails may vary.

The attractiveness of the trail is most clearly embodied at viewpoints, where a beautiful panorama opens up to the traveler. Most often, observation platforms are equipped on elevations of the relief or on the shore of a large reservoir.

The accessibility of the walking ecological trail for most visitors means that its beginning and end should not be located very far from the entrance to the natural area and convenient access roads should lead to it. Tourists should not accumulate fatigue by the beginning of the walk along the trail, as well as be subjected to unnecessary stress when returning. Excessive physical activity can interfere with a person and learn new information, and just enjoy the beauties of nature. For the same reason, the cross-country route itself should not be too difficult. This criterion does not apply to a tourist route of a complex category. 

Informativeness is a very important characteristic. The ecotrail should satisfy the human need for knowledge of the environment, provide interesting natural science (biological, ecological, geographical), and often historical information, and show the interaction of man with nature. Information stands, signs, maps with explanations are an important part of the eco-trail. 

In addition to information and navigation aids, facilities are being installed on the eco-trail to ensure safety and comfort for visitors. These include railings, fences, bridges, recreation areas, viewing platforms. 

 

When developing a project for an ecological trail, other tasks are also taken into account:

  • ensuring safety and the maximum possible comfort for tourists;

  • maintenance of demonstration facilities, including attraction of animals (by organizing feeding and organizing shelters), caring for plants, planting;

  • preparation of excursions and thematic events;

  • training of qualified personnel to work with visitors;

  • formation of active support of the local population, volunteers and sponsors.

The development of ecotourism around the world has been growing rapidly in recent years. Thus, the creation and support of ecological trails in Kyrgyzstan is of great importance in the development of tourism, both among the local population, and in attracting more foreign tourists. 

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