„Closer to nature! Protected natural areas in Harghita County.”

Project called „Echoes in tourism: equilibrium and safekeeping for the protection of the uniqueness of the protected natural areas and their integration into tourism”.

Harghita county is located in the center of Romania, covering 6,639 square kilometers, with a total population of 305,000 and with a relatively low population density (46 people/ km2) due to its geography. The settlement’s surface and the land usage differ according to the mountainous or hilly landscape together with the accompanying climatic features. Beside the traditional forestry and grazing land management, or the management of meadows and agricultural lands, or besides the orchards and vineyards from the South-Western part of the county, the percentage of the natural of close to natural areas is relatively high.

This is the reason for the spreading of the Natura 2000 network, which is concerned with the protection of birds and their natural habitat within the Europan Union. Beside the Natura 2000 network, which covers 34% of the total area of Harghita county, there were 35 natural protected areas designated before . In the fallowing we intend to present these to you. The botanical, geological, speleological, zoological or complex natural protected areas are to be included in the European protected area’s network. Their visiting is conditioned by state regulations and the common sense and could be carried out by introducing them into the ecotourism trail network.

The landscape is dominated by mountainous areas, which are interrupted by basins, river valleys, which contributed to the formation of settlements and the layout of the infrastructure. Considering an aerial distribution of the major geographical elements, we included the protected areas into three major regions: in South-East the Ciuc region, in the South-West the Odorhei region and in the North the Giurgeu-Topliþa region.
The Tourism Development Strategy for Harghita County aims to promote ecotourism and tries to improve the visiting experience by creating didactic trails, information points and visiting centers. In reaching these goals, as an aid, comes the ECOURI project – “Echoes in tourism: equilibrium and safekeeping for the protection of the uniqueness of the protected areas and their integration into tourism”.
The goal of the ECOURI project is to create a self-consciousness in tourism, in which we count on your involvement.

Permitted and forbidden activities within the protected areas

Protecting the natural environment is our duty and legacy. A nature reserve is an area of distinctive status, enforced by law, where not just a couple of rare species of plants, animals, geological formations or archeological-paleontological objects can be found and need to be protected. To ensure, that these protected elements will remain or survive, we need to protect their living habitat. Besides the natural values coming to know the biodiversity of the area, means a spiritual experience, on the other hand it can become an esthetic enjoyment, thus contributes to a spiritual charging to the explorer of nature. Harghita County is one of the few places, blessed with several authentic natural beauties. These gems of nature represent an economical asset, and by this, an improper visitor’s behavior can endanger its content and existence. Protecting our environment’s riches is a collective task and duty. The managing organisms which are responsible for these reservations have been already assigned, and they can enforce or apply special rules for visitors in any protected area. Beside these, we would recommend you the following:
-    do not leave the marked trails,
-    do not litter or leave garbage behind,
-    keep the peace and quiet by avoiding using strong sources of music,
-    do not tear any plants down, including the protected species,
-    camp only in specially market and designated areas,
-    make fire only in special designated areas, and make sure that you put them out before leaving,
-    do not throw lit cigarette butts,
-    avoid using motorized vehicles in the vicinity of the protected areas, and use only the marked accessibility routes,
-    enjoy the sounds and sights of nature and do not disturb others in enjoying these as well.

With this informative material, which presents the natural protected areas of Harghita County, we wish to contribute to the promotion of a responsible and eco-conscious form of tourism. To a better success we count on your open mindedness and interest.

Closer to nature: through visiting and conservation!