Constructing a cannel connecting the Lyadskoe Lake and a Father Frost residence, 2007

Violations: Articles 26 and 27 of Belarus' Specially Protected Wilderness Territories and Sites Act; Article 55 of the Forest Code of the Republic of Belarus; the water stream conditions in the area; reclamation work in the national park's core; the environmental balance within the protected forest; damaging the biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidence: In 2007, the management of the national park has made a hydro engineering project in the centre of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, in the area of the Lyadskoe Lake Teplukhi peat bog. The project idea was in digging through and broadening a drainage canal on the peat bog "Teplukhi" that to connect the Lyadskoe Lake and the Father Frost residence. The basic goal of the project was to boat tourists from the lake to the Father Frost residence.

The public is still in the dark about whether the ecological examination of the given project has been made and all sanctions from nature protection bodies necessary for excavation works have been received.

The concrete plan was to broaden and deepen the old drainage canal going from the Lyadskoe Lake through the marsh area "Teplukhi", and to dig the new one from Teplukhi to the Father Frost residence. A strip had to be cut through the protected forest for the new canal.

The picture below shows the old drainage, rush-growing and abandon canal in the marsh area "Teplukhi", in the foreground, and the one already broaden and deepened but actually newly created, in the background.

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(Excavation work in the marsh area "Teplukhi"; 2007)

After the biggest part of the canal going through the marsh area has been dug out, all works have unexpectedly been stopped and an excavator has been removed from the area. The shot above shows exactly the time when works were stopped at the canal to leave it partly untouched. The reason is still unknown - maybe money were not enough or illegality and ecological absurdity of the given project have received publicity...

Our information: According to the nature protection law, reclamation works within especially protected natural areas are forbidden, except for special situations which covers the issues of biodiversity conservation. Drainage and reclamation works at the marsh area "Teplukhi" have been conducted in 1970 to create haymaking lands for economic needs of the national park and the local population, and to improve the habitat conditions for wild ungulates, for development of the intensive hunting management.

By now the locals have no cows more and the need for hay has fallen to a minimum, and there are enough of other agricultural lands around Belovezhskaya Pushcha which can be used for the hunting economy. So it seems logically to make restoration of the natural shape of the marsh area "Teplukhi" that to get back its primordial natural conditions as much as possible. This will promote restoration of the wild reserved nature and will be good for preservation of the marsh flora and fauna including rare species.

On the contrary, digging the canal like above shown and the development of the mass tourism in this territory contradicts the principles of the ecological management for Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a very valuable protected natural territory. Ecologically harmful projects like this are inadmissible in the core of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.