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Interview with Igor Stanislavovich Kislitsin

The nature islet under the heart of Moscow

Losiny Ostrov can be regarded as a coexistence model of a city and a natural territory. We can rightly say that the national park largely determines the face of Moscow and "holds on to" its ecological framework.

Igor Stanislavovich Kislitsin, head of the Ecotourism and Recreation Service told our eco-magazine about the life of the park, its history, activities and plans.

- Tell us a little about the park, its history and directions.

- National Park Losiny Ostrov (literally - Elk Island) was founded on August 24, 1983. For many centuries the territory of Losiny Ostrov was with a special, reserved status. Since the XV century, Losiny Ostrov was a favorite place of royal falconry. The name comes from the era of court hunts: "island" - a grove among the cultivated land, "running" - from the "gong", dog hunting, "elk" - from the largest object of hunting.

The uniqueness of Losiny Ostrov is that it is the only national park in the world with an area of almost 13 thousand hectares, one third of which is part of the multimillion capital borders. The largest forest range is in the north-east of Moscow.

For many centuries, the territory of Losiny Ostrov was with special status

For many centuries, the territory of Losiny Ostrov was with special status, photo WEB

- What is the purpose of the park?

The purpose of establishing a national park is to preserve natural complexes and biodiversity, as well as optimize nature management, develop national culture and create conditions for organized recreation. Our employees are engaged in the restoration of the forest, which suffered from bark beetle and storm winds in 2016 and 2017. Often for such events, the park attracts volunteers from various organizations. Protection of natural complexes and objects of the park is carried out by the State Inspectorate for the Protection of the Territory. In Losiny Ostrov 8 visiting centers have been established, carrying out ecological and educational activities, 13 ecological paths have been laid, and a bike route has been arranged.

Losiny Ostrov is nature in "walking distance" from overpopulated city quarters.
Attendance is high in the park: an average of 10 thousand people daily, up to 150 thousand people on "peak days", in the amount of 7 million people a year.

Losiny Ostrov is nature in "walking distance"

Losiny Ostrov is nature in "walking distance", photo WEB

- Is permission needed to visit the park?

- For environmental education and tourism in the national park, a recreational zone (65.6 km²) is designated for everyday rest of the population. Areas that are closed to free access are protected (44.7 km²), designed to preserve natural complexes in their natural form, are the main habitats for large mammals and birds. To visit a protected area of the national park, you need permission from the administration of the park.

- Tell us about the activities you are carrying out for eco-education.

- Losiny Ostrov annually conducts a large number of various activities of an environmental and educational nature: programs timed to calendar holidays, such as New Year, thematic exhibitions, children's competitions, volunteer actions and much more. Excursions are conducted on ecological paths regularly, where visitors get acquainted with the nature and history of the national park. We work with local people in libraries and schools. On small seminars we talk about the news of the park, explain what we do and answer their questions.

Losiny Ostrov holds a large number of different events annually

Losiny Ostrov holds a large number of different events annually, photo © elkisland.ru

- 2017 was declared Ecology Year in Russia. How this affected your park, what interesting happened in a year?

- The construction of many recreational facilities was actively continued that year. For example, we opened a new ecological path "Reserve forest", starting from Losiny biostation and stretching along the park's reserved marshes. On the trail visitors will see the protected area of the national park and impressive landscapes of the protected Verkhneyauzsky marshes, walk along the footbridge over the swamp and watch the birds from the observation tower. To the Ecology year, the staff developed a large number of excursion and game quests, master classes, quizzes, etc. We tried to make the most effective investments in order to make this year worthy. And we really hope that we have succeeded.

- Tell us about the projects in which you are participating.

- Together with partners we realize a large number of projects. At the moment, one of the most priority is "The Wild Nature of Russia: To Preserve and See", implementing until February 2021. The key objective of this project is to develop and test models for the development of eco-tourism, as well as to preserve and restore populations of rare animals. For this work we have to involve international experts. Within the framework of this project, we have to work out mechanisms for the development of ecological tourism, which would ensure the preservation of biological and landscape diversity.

Protected Verkhneyauzsky marshes

Protected Verkhneyauzsky marshes, photo © elkisland.ru

- How many employees do you have? Can you say that your workforce is an associate? Do you involve volunteers?

- We have 181 employees. All of them, of course, are associates of our reserve and work with full dedication. But this number of people is not enough to fully implement all our ideas and projects. We do not always have time to do something as we would like. Mainly we involve volunteers for cleaning up the territory and reforestation works.

- Reserves and parks are an interesting tourist destination. What excursion programs do you offer? Do you have special programs for children and teenagers?

- As we said earlier, ecological centers have been established on the territory of the national park, where excursions along ecological paths are conducted. For children and teenagers cognitive environmental quests and game programs are conducted in most centers. Let's talk about some in more detail.

Elk biostation. Visitors will be able to see, touch and communicate with live moose, spotted deers and wild boars also live on the biostation. There is an excursion along the ecological path to the reserve zone "Reserve Forest", where you can see the impressive landscapes of the protected Verkhneauzsky marshes.

Elk biostation

Elk biostation, photo © elkisland.ru

Arboretum. Acquaintance with a variety of trees and bushes of our country on the ecological path "Forests of Russia". Plants of the Far East, Siberia, Eastern Europe, the Western Caucasus are represented here, a site of pine forest and floodplain is preserved.

Tea drinking in Mytishchi. The exposition of the center tells about the creation of the first Moscow water pipeline of the reign of Catherine the Great. In the center there is a museum of peasant life, a collection of samovars and tea utensils of the turn of the XIX-XX centuries.

Russian way of life. The exposition of the museum is a house with a traditional layout for Russian villages, the situation of the Russian hut is preserved as much as possible. The basis of the exposition is made up with items of national use of the XIX - XX centuries. In the vicinity there is a network of sightseeing routes "Such familiar forest" and "Path of Vyatichi", which organically complement the visit of the Russian hut.

Russian way of life

Russian way of life, photo © elkisland.ru

The royal hunt. The exposition of the museum is located in the building of the former governmental and then departmental suburban dacha. An exhibition in the house tells the story of Russian hunting. The exhibits of the museum will introduce visitors with various kinds of hunting: falcon, dog, beast. Of particular interest are archaeological excavations conducted on the site of the Palace structure.

- Do you think that today people are quite sensitive to environmental problems?

- We observe that the ecological situation in the city is changing for the better. In the Ecology Year, all people and the media spoke about the need to protect nature, especially protected natural areas, including national parks and reserves. It is necessary to work on the ecological culture of the population, there is still a lot to be done in this direction. It is necessary to radically change the attitude of modern person to the observance of order in cities and forests, in the future to introduce the habit of sorting garbage even before it is taken to the trash. We think that the past year has made the first step in this direction, now our task is to develop the problems further and not let it fade.

It is necessary to work on the ecological culture of the population

It is necessary to work on the ecological culture of the population, photo © elkisland.ru

- Your parting words for our readers.

- I would like to remind everyone once again that a person is a part of nature, in no case this should it be forgotten. Nature can exist without us, and without it we can not. Our task is to inspire you to take care of nature, and yours is to transfer this knowledge to other people. We hope that after the Ecology Year, many people have been thinking about the fact that national parks and reserves are an important part of our state.

Visit the territory of specially protected natural areas, but do not harm nature: do not hunt animals and fish, do not frighten animals, do not light fires, do not throw garbage in the forest, do not pick mushrooms and berries, do not break branches of trees.

National Park Losiny Ostrov is always glad to guests who observe the rules of conduct in a specially protected area!

Timofeeva Julia, Russia, Moscow

INFORMATION

National Park Losiny Ostrov

E-mail: ecotour@elkisland.ru

+7 (495) 798-17-09

+7 (968) 672-45-83

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