Slovenian Forest Week is an annual event that raises awareness about forests and forestry practices in Slovenia. Taking place in the last week of May, one of its traditional events is a guided hike along the Borovška Nature Trail, located in the buffer zone of Virgin Forest Krokar. The hike is meant to acquaint participants with the history of the region’s forestry and nature conservation. This also includes introducing participants to the meaning of virgin forests and their importance.
The common theme of this year’s Forest Week was caring for forests (slogan: “I feel forests!”), so the hike’s focus was also on behaving responsibly when visiting forests. As a member of BEECH POWER’s project team, I attended this year’s hike to also talk about the importance of the UNESCO designation and introduce people to the goals of the BEECH POWER project.
The hike was attended by 37 hikers and 4 SFS members, 2 of which were the guides organizing this event since its inception. Among the hikers you could find people of all demographics, from young children to retirees. The guides did not rush and everyone managed to complete the hike at a relaxed pace. Stopping at different points on the trail, the guides and I presented different topics to the visitors. At first they seemed very interested, with older people and families with children asking questions. They seemed to lose interest during the second half of the hike, though, probably as fatigue and hunger set in. It also did not help that that part of the trail lead through beautiful slopes of blooming wild garlic and fallen trees. Everybody was naturally too occupied with the view to listen to the guides.
As we stopped for lunch on a vantage point overlooking the cliffs of Krokar and the forests beyond, I decided that I’ll let the beauty of the rolling wooded hills speak for itself. We finished the trail after about 4 hours. A snail’s pace, some might say, since the trail is only 8 kilometers long, but all in all, I think the hike was a success. Combined with the information given by our guides and the beauty of the trail, I believe the participants gained an admiration for forests and an understanding for the importance of nature conservation.
Written by Domen Kocjan, Slovenia Forest Service