The 13th Croatian nature park is coming soon: the general scope of the future park has been agreed upon

The establishment of a nature park in Hrvatsko Zagorje will stimulate the development of tourism and have a positive impact on the economy.


February 20, 2024.

The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development is intensively working on activities to protect Ivanščica, Strahinjčica, Maceljska gora and Ravna gora in the nature park category. It is an idea that was started in 2009 and revived in 2021. 

During January, the principle coverage of the future park over the 31.000 ha. Consultations were held with representatives of 14 cities and municipalities whose territory is covered by the border proposal.

The goal was to familiarize them with the nature park category and the effects it will have on the population of that region, but also to collect their opinions. 

Numerous advantages of establishing a park

A nature park is a large natural or partially cultivated area of ​​land and/or sea of ​​great biodiversity and/or geodiversity, with valuable ecological features, emphasized landscape and cultural-historical values, and has a scientific, cultural, educational and recreational purpose. 

It is a suitable form of protection of larger valuable areas such as Hrvatsko zagorje because it simultaneously enables the protection of natural values ​​and the use of natural resources. With the declaration of a nature park, it is expected that the natural and landscape values ​​in synergy with the rich cultural and historical heritage will become basis of development of this part of Hrvatski Zagorje.

It is an opportunity for recognition and additional promotion of the area at the national and international level, development of sustainable tourism, recreational facilities in nature, overall development of the area, and greater and easier availability of EU funds for financing projects to preserve natural and cultural values. 

As examples of the withdrawal of EU funds in the improvement of visitor infrastructure in the area of ​​nature parks, we can single out the Heavenly Promenade (PP Biokovo), Geoinfo Center Voćin (PP Papuk), Visitor Center Poklon (PP Učka), Cerovačke špilje (PP Velebit) and others.

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The survival of people and a better quality of life

The nature park will certainly contribute to preserving the quality of life and health of the people of the area through the preservation of rural households and mitigating the trend of depopulation.

The above statement is supported by the statement Josip Beljak, the mayor of the Municipality of Stubičke Toplice, whose municipality is included in the Medvednica Nature Park.

"I am pleased to point out that 80 percent of the area of ​​the municipality of Stubičke Toplice is covered by the Nature Park. The conditions prescribed by the Nature Park are in themselves somewhat 'stricter' compared to the usual ones, but they are precisely the guarantee of rational use of space with as little destruction of the environment as possible.", believes Beljak.

Such planning activity of all stakeholders in the process contributes to natural balance, sustainable development, preservation of natural resources and biodiversity. 

"Preserved nature is one of the most important reasons for young people to immigrate to our municipality, and at the same time, it is an opportunity for everyone to take advantage of these conditions, either in terms of producing local food or engaging in tourism. Cooperation with PP Medvednica institution has been excellent so far and I believe it will continue", he adds.

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Cooperation and connection of local producers

The nature park is managed by a public institution established by the Republic of Croatia by government decree. The public institution will be an intermediary in the development of the area in terms of providing support to the local population in communication with institutions responsible for agriculture and other branches of the economy. 

It will also be a partner in ensuring the certification, promotion and placement of local products, as well as the restoration of cultural and historical heritage, while simultaneously working to promote the park area as a destination for visiting and sustainable tourism

An example of quality cooperation with the local population can be found in the Papuk Nature Park, where about forty local producers and service providers use the '100% Papuk' logo with the slogan 'From the mountain that remembers the sea'. 

The logo is a sign of trust, quality, geographical origin, sustainable and environmentally friendly management, nature protection and tradition with which the user of the logo and slogan, who has acquired the right to use them, ensures the products and services marked with them on the market. 

The goal is to achieve mutual Cooperation and connecting local producers from the Park area, enable them to better market their products and services, improve promotion and thus help them create conditions for expanding production and markets. 

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Development of tourism

The establishment of a public institution also brings new jobs. Initially, it will be a small number of employees, but over time it will grow and there is also the possibility of seasonal employment.

Experiences in other protected areas of the Republic of Croatia confirmed already in the first years after the establishment of protection the increased development of tourism and the increase in the number of domestic and foreign visitors. Thus, it is expected that Hrvatsko Zagorje will also benefit from the effects that tourism will bring, and it will also affect the overall economic condition areas.

In the nature park, economic and other activities (including manufacturing and industrial activities) and interventions that do not have a significant negative impact on the important characteristics and role of the park can take place - therefore, no significant restrictions are foreseen. 

The presence of man is the basic prerequisite for preservation of space of the park, and any unjustified stoppage of activities that may result in the population moving out would be extremely unfavorable also from the point of view of nature protection, it was announced Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

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Photo: Jasenka Haleuš


February 20, 2024.