How to behave in protected areas
Protected areas are geographic spaces, regions and sites under formal protection and management with the goal of protecting the rivers and the important natural values they possess. Protected areas have a key role not only for the protection of the environment, the living world and the ecosystems, but are also essential for educating the public and present an opportunity for the citizens to experience nature.
Outdoor recreation, particularly in a protected area, is an important ecosystem service which leads not only to a more active protection of nature and animals, but also presents an opportunity for funding and self-sustainability of the protected areas as administration. This means that visits to these areas are recommended and welcome. However, the movement and the recreational activities in these areas have to be in harmony with the goals and the programmes for protection of biodiversity and the impact on habitats. Therefore there are several rules and guidelines about how people should behave in a protected area:
- Always follow the guidelines and rules that are clearly stated on info points in the area. If there are no clearly stated rules, behave sensibly and responsibly.
- Always move along the planned and envisaged route. In this way you will always know that you are on the right track and will not have an additional impact on the living world.
- Do not leave any waste behind.
- Never light fires in the open. In many protected areas lighting fires is strictly prohibited.
- Camp only on sites meant for camping. In many protected areas camping is strictly prohibited.
- Avoid collecting plants, forest fruits, animals, parts of animals (bones, sculls, horns). Instead take photos of the living world around you and enjoy yourselves.
- Do not leave food and open receptacles with liquids behind. Wild animals should not be eating human food.
- Move through the area carefully and quietly. Loud talk or music might upset the animals around you.
- If you come into contact with a wild animal, behave reasonably and follow the rules of conduct in wilderness.
- Never forget that you are in an area of exceptional natural values, which everyone should nurture.