Declaring Sharr as National Park

foto PRES medTetovo, 18th March 2016, 83% of the local population that lives in the municipalities along the Sharr mountain wants mountain to be declared a national park, this is the result of the survey to establish the awareness of the population on issues related to the future declare Shar Mountain national park Macedonian Ecological Society platform "Friends of Sharra" was conducted in 2015.

The results of this survey are really positive, finally we know what is the opinion of the local population in the proclamation of the Sharr Mountain National Park, in rural and urban areas in this region.

Data analysis showed that people believe that the future protected area will not only introduce more control over the resources of the mountain, but that it will bring positive changes in terms of the development of the region, said Frosina Pandurska-Dramikjanin, Project Manager at Macedonian ecological society.

The survey was implemented  in over 30 villages in the municipalities of Jegunovce, Tearce, Tetovo, Gostivar, Bogovinje and Vrapciste on a representative sample of 410 respondents aged 18-60 years. According to members of the platform "Friends of Shara ' this survey confirmed one of the major problems in terms of the resources of the mountain, and it is illegal logging.

- In most of the questions, people responded with concern regarding the use of forests on Shara Mountain. According to the survey,  63% of respondents believe that the trees on Shara are  used excessively. A general view that the nature of the mountain is not protected is expressed by 79% of respondents, said Alexandra Timosieska from the NGO Institute for Community Development from Tetovo.

Almost all respondents said Shar Mountain has the potential for tourism development, as favorites are listed 83%winter tourism, 80% mountain tourism and sports tourism which is indicated by 71% of respondents. Unfortunately, the survey showed that only 19% of respondents are aware and informed about the benefits of ecotourism.

Although the attitude of the population is positive for the Shar Mountain to become a national park, information about the process of  its proclamation is low. On the question - Have you heard that Shar Mountain is proposed for protected area? - responded negatively 61%.

This research is an activity of the project "Conservation of biodiversity through sustainable management of resources of Sar Planina" implemented by the Macedonian Ecological Society and funded by the German Federal Environment Agency DBU. The aim of this project is the active involvement of local stakeholders in the initiative to declare Shar Mountain National Park and lobbying at local and national levels.

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