The Croatian Mountaineering Association invites participation in the draft Law on the management of mountain lodges

This is a regulation of great importance for mountaineers.


20. September 2023.

Bearing in mind the importance of functional mountain lodges for organized mountaineering and safety in the mountains, the Croatian Mountaineering Association (HPS) draws attention to the fact that it is on the central portal of the Croatian government for e-advice public e-consultation in progress on the draft proposal of the Law on the Management of Real Estate and Movable Property in the Property of the Republic of Croatia, which will replace the Law on the Management of State Property. 

It is a law of importance and interest for mountaineers, as it is planned to regulate the management of mountaineer lodges and state-owned houses in a special article. E-counseling is available at the link: e-consultation on the draft proposal of the Law on the Management of Real Estate and Movable Property in the Ownership of the Republic of Croatia, and lasts until October 1, 2023.

Endangering the concept of safety in the mountains

On September 11, the Executive Board of the HPS discussed the above topic and concluded that it is necessary from the level of the HPS to point out to the proposer of the Law and the public the unfathomable harmful consequences which could result from the solutions provided in Article 16 of the Law which refers to management of mountain lodges

In the text of the draft proposal of the Law, it is envisaged that the management of mountain lodges located in national parks and nature parks will be entrusted to public institutions that manage these protected areas, and the management of mountain lodges outside the protected areas to the counties in whose territory they are located. 

HPS's point of view is that the proposed model of management of mountaineering infrastructure threatens the entire concept of safety in the mountains, which is persistently and effectively taken care of by HPS and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS), and that Mountaineering associations should be entrusted with the care of mountain lodges who continuously manage them.

The reason is primarily that the engagement of mountaineers and mountaineer associations is the only real guarantee for the functioning of mountaineers, i.e. the only model that can achieve the sustainability of mountaineers and safety in mountain areas.

Intelligence points of HGSS

Mountain lodges were built, renovated and renovated in order to provide mountaineers and other visitors to mountain areas with a safe stay and shelter in inaccessible non-urban terrains. In addition, all mountain lodges are HGSS intelligence points today. 

Since it is not possible to guarantee the safety of staying in the Croatian mountains without functional mountaineering lodges, it is certain that the proposed model of management of the mountaineering infrastructure threatens the entire concept of safety in the mountains, which is persistently and effectively taken care of by HPS and HGSS.

"It is important to remember that thanks to the appreciation of the public interest in achieving safety in the mountains, many important mountain lodges were built precisely on state land and with the support of the state, with contracts by which the state authorities not only approved but also entrusted the task and obligation to the mountaineering association to build mountain lodges on its land, put them in public use and take care of them permanently", say the Croatian Mountaineering Association.

Numerous renovation projects

Only from 2000 to the present, HPS has been conducted according to detailed criteria more than 250 individual projects renovation of roofs, exterior and interior carpentry, sanitary facilities, installation of electrical power systems, water tanks and similar activities in mountain lodges, and dedicated more than 500.000 euros of its own funds for this purpose. 

Substantial funds were acquired and invested also through the direct involvement of mountaineering associations that operate in the capacity of managers of these facilities, as well as through the involvement of HGSS, which is also a member of HPS. 

"We emphasize that it is precisely the continuous and self-sacrificing work of numerous mountaineers-volunteers and the considerable investments of mountaineer associations, the Croatian Mountaineering Association and the HGSS that have made it possible for the mountaineer facilities - the majority of which are owned by the Republic of Croatia - to remain in operation.", it is stated on the website of HPS. 

HPS, HGSS and mountaineering associations, thanks to their continuous care and investments, not only made it possible for mountain lodges to serve a general purpose, but also saved this state property from ruin, the Association points out.

Necessary continuous maintenance

An essential feature of all types of mountain houses is the need for continuous maintenance, because houses in unfavorable mountain conditions are more exposed to deterioration. In addition to the weather conditions in the winter season, theirs is also a significant challenge distance from urban centers and roads and from other communal infrastructure. 

It is additionally important to keep in mind that due to seasonality, visits only on weekends and other factors, the income generated from catering cannot be sufficient even for their sustainability, let alone for more significant investments.

"In order to improve the management of mountain lodges, houses and shelters, the Croatian Mountaineering Association in the past years created, adopted and published the Analysis of the Status, Challenges and Perspectives of the Management of Mountaineering Facilities in the Croatian Mountains, the Guide for the Management and Owners of Mountaineering Facilities and the Operational Program for the Management of Mountaineering Infrastructure in Republic of Croatia", says HPS. 

These documents provide a solid foundation for the functional management of mountain infrastructure, and all of this can and should be applied when defining a management model for mountain facilities.

The role of mountaineering associations

During the preparation of the legal text, the fact that mountaineering facilities are one of the foundations of mountaineering activity and that mountaineering lodges are inextricably linked to their actual builders, maintainers and managers was completely lost sight of, HPS points out. 

"The fact that this state property would have fallen into disrepair if the mountaineers had not taken care of it sacrificially for decades, most often when it was not defined as a contractual task of mountaineer associations, was also ignored. In the proposed legal text, the management of mountaineer lodges is viewed only through the definition of leases and distribution of rent between the central government and public institutions, i.e. counties, while mountaineers, mountaineer associations and their role in mountaineer lodges are not even mentioned at all, so the question arises as to what is the purpose of mountaineer lodges at all if by the letter of the law mountaineers have no role in them.", it is stated on the official website pages of the Alliance.

Representing the interests of Croatian mountaineers and mountaineer associations, and bearing in mind that mountain lodges are the main factor in the safety of staying in mountainous areas, the HPS indicated, indicates and will indicate to the ministry responsible for state property through e-counseling, official correspondence, in direct contacts and to others ways that the care of mountain lodges should be entrusted to mountain associations that continuously manage them. 

Inefficient management model

Bearing in mind the goal of the Act to create clear, effective, purposeful and enforceable conditions for property management, HPS is of the opinion that it is necessary to incorporate purposeful, effective, applicable and sustainable solutions for mountain lodges in the Republic of Croatia, instead of using an ineffective model of state management mountain lodges are replaced by another dysfunctional model.

"We invite mountaineering associations, especially those that manage mountain lodges and houses, to familiarize themselves with the content of the draft proposal of the Law and to express their observations and proposals in agreement and in coordination with the Croatian Mountaineering Association, the goal of which is an effective model of management of mountaineering lodges through mountaineering associations.", appeals HPS.

Photo: Gorski kotar Tourist Board
Source: Croatian Mountaineering Association


20. September 2023.