Do not destroy their camps, you are harming nature. Scientists stood up for the nomads in Kogorinsk

Experts from the Academy of Sciences said in their new opinion that the dismantling of nomadic camps is in some cases unnecessary and sometimes harmful to nature. They are reacting to the controversy over the destruction of these camps in Kogorinsk. According to them, they are asking the management of the protected landscape area to remove the newly created black structures but leave the small camps. People belong to the local landscape and nomads help maintain it, scientists say.

Roverské skály in the protected Kokořínsk region is considered a remote, inaccessible area. This is why nomads seek a peaceful refuge from the modern world here. They gradually established more than a hundred camps of various types here: from simple places to sleep under decks to huts with bunk beds and stoves.

But these places are gradually going to ground. As Aktuálně.cz previously reported, the administration of the protected area and the Nature and Nature Conservation Agency want to gradually remove them. People have built here without permission, camping and even setting fires is prohibited here. The move was met with waves of support and opposition.

Scientists of the Academy of Sciences are now reacting to the heated controversy in an expert opinion, which is available at Aktuálně.cz. “At least in some cases, these activities are not only unnecessary but may even be counterproductive from the perspective of achieving a sustainable coexistence between man and nature,” the report said.

The document was signed by 27 scientists from the Academy of Sciences and several Czech universities. Participants included geographer and popularizer of science Václav Cílek, biologist David Storch, archaeologist František Gabriel and historian of science Michaela Nohejlová Zemkova. According to them, “short population” is pushing the nature conservation authorities to remove the sites.

Much damage is done by amateur researchers

The dispute with Kokorinsko has been ongoing since 2008, when the Vlastivédné Museum and Gallery in Česká Lípa drew attention to the illegal camp. According to local archaeologists, this area is one of the most valuable sites and trampers are destroying it in their camp.

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According to scientists of the Academy of Sciences, the dismantling of camps also has undesirable consequences. According to the scientists, “damage during demolitions and the creation of wild and uncontrolled camps with new dug or buried fireplaces can be included”. “It is worth noting that in the past more damage has been done by amateur explorers and researchers than by nomads,” they add.

Critics also accuse campers of upsetting “strange” sandstone formations by fire, irreparably damaging them. However, according to the theory, trampers in their traditional campsites placed fire pits far from the crust and rarely risked disturbing the sandstone.

“Repeatedly eliminating long-term fires has only one effect: fires are established repeatedly, but due to ignorance, even in problem areas near rock walls. In contrast, knowledge of traditional nomadic fire natural processes has been established and proven over decades. That the practice is safe from a fire prevention point of view. proves,” the statement said.

In addition, according to scientists, fire has always been a natural part of the ecosystem and the hearth of the centers of human settlements, through which the development of the rock cities of North Bohemia in the last ten thousand years is connected. “In almost every overhang, we find evidence of repeated use as permanent or at least a temporary shelter,” he says.

Scientists also point out that the development of nature in the Czech Republic is related to human activities. For example, valuable grasslands and pastures are disappearing in areas unsuitable for agriculture. “Something like this, although not obvious at first sight, happens in many types of forests. Current nomadism and similar activities replace the ancient daily use of forests for grazing, collecting mud, cutting leaves and needles into litter, and the like.” Scientists write.

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They consider the nomads a part of the Czech cultural heritage that should be preserved. That's what local nomads argue against critics, with poet Karel Hynek Macha camped at the site.

Let's destroy the huts and keep the rest

Experts from the Academy of Sciences point out that it is important to distinguish between traditional nomadic camps, which often have only a place to sleep, a bench and a fire pit, and black structures. Bombastic Camp, for example, is like a small room with its own toilet and a door from the entertainment market. However, according to the current plans, even small camps are gradually moving to the ground.

“In this context, we support the removal of newly created illegal buildings and shacks, which do not have the character of freely accessible camps, but rather represent a form of privatization of free land,” the researchers write.

On the other hand, for them, wooden benches and campfire borders do not represent a problem in the landscape, they do not directly threaten specially protected species or other conservation objects.

“Traditional nomadic places, which are generally freely accessible to everyone and known especially among regular visitors, should be understood as part of the landscape. They are involved in the surrounding environment and the life of local communities. They are a living witness. The fate of many generations of people who have established an internal relationship with those places,” say researchers of the Academy of Sciences.

Elves and Patriarchs

Although its administration is now dismantling the camp itself, the head of the PLA Kokořínsko – Mách region, Ladislav Pořízek, encourages a more restrained approach against the nomads. In an interview with Aktuálně.cz last December, he said he wanted to legalize more camps.

The case has been hotly debated between the two groups on social media. The first is made up of the camp's opponents, the Rover Elves, who have long posted photos of them on Facebook asking for their destruction. The face of the opposition is journalist Ivan Bresina, who according to himself is not one of the “elves”.

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On the other side is Ivan's group and the fireworks community. They also have about a thousand fans. According to them, Bresina fights against the camps with the help of lies and “crack”.

Photo credit: Jakub Plíhal

Macha already liked the forest area

  • The territory bordering the counties of Česká Lípa, Mělník and Litoměřice has been called Polomene Hori since the end of the 19th century. But people mostly know it under the tourist name Kogorinsko. It is characterized by sandstone cliffs and a maze of winding canyons. This makes it difficult to pass through. The highest point is the Vlhošť mountain with a height of 614 meters.
  • It came under state protection in 1976 when the Kogorinsko Protected Landscape Area was established. In 2014, it was expanded by a second, discontinuous section of the Macha region.
  • In total, it covers an area of ​​410 square kilometers and spans the Central Bohemian, Liberec and Ústí regions. Inside are 29 smaller specially protected areas.
  • The area is particularly valuable for its canyon-like character, cliffs and caves, but also for its wetlands, ponds and ruins. Kokořín and Bezděz castles are part of the region.
  • Until the middle of the 20th century, mostly Czech Germans lived here, when they were removed after World War II, the area became depopulated and many places were deserted. Due to its wild nature, Kogorinsko is a popular destination for tourists and campers. Already in the first half of the 19th century, the poet Karel Hynek Macha praised the region.

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