Construction and expansion of a parking area, 2006-2009

Events, facts, documents and evidences: There is a parking area at the entrance to the administrative and tourist center of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". It is situated on the both sides of the road (on the right and on the left). Once it was quite small. In 2002 the first expansion of the parking area took place. The expansion required cutting down a patch of the old alder forest on the right side of the road.
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(The first expansion of the parking area at the cost of deforestation; October 16, 2002)

In two years (2004) the cutover patch was covered with asphalt and the parking area was created there. The link provided just above gives a detailed description of these actions.

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(Parking area from the right side; 1 June 6, 2004; 2 July 10, 2004; 3 December 4, 2004; 4 December 26, 2004)

In another one-two years (2005-2006) the asphalted parking area was hedged with a wooden fence.

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(Wooden fence poling; July 11, 2005)
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(Wooden fence around the parking area; July 1, 2006)

Within the plan of preparation for celebration of the 600th anniversary since nature protection in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the overhaul of the road leading to the administrative and tourist center of the National Park was foreseen.

The following photos document how the parking area looked prior, during and after the repair of the road.

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(Parking area from the right side prior to the repair of the road;
May 3, 2009)
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(Parking area from the right side during the repair of the road;
1 and 2 August 9, 2009; 3 September 6, 2009)
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(Parking area from the right side after the repair of the road;
January 2, 2010)
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(Parking area from the right side; April 3, 2010)

On the left side of the road there was a toll asphalted parking area. It was fenced with metal lath and a patrol dog lived there.

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(Toll parking area from the left side; June 6, 2004)

Within the plan of preparation for celebration of the 600th anniversary since nature protection in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the decision on the toll parking area expansion was made. The cost of this expansion was the old alder forest to be cut down.

The following photos document the highlights of the deforestation and the expansion of the parking area.

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(Clearance and stubbing of the alder forest; March 1, 2009)

Then the grubbed stubs were scavenged and utilised at the central dumping site.

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(Grubbed stubs at the dumping site; May 3, 2009)

Then the sand was brought, and the ground was levelled and asphalted.

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(Sand delivery; March 31, 2009)
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(Ground levelling; April 4, 2009)
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(Asphalt works at the ground; April 27, 2009)
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(Asphalted area; May 3, 2009)

The following photos show the parking area (from the left side) after the end of the capital portion of works.

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(Asphalted area; August 9, 2009)
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(Stones for the fence construction; 1 and 2 September 6, 2009; 3 April 3, 2010)
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(Parking area from the left side; 1 and 2 January 2, 2010; 3 and 4 April 3, 2010)

Conclusion. In a view of the significant increase in numbers of tourists visiting the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and the consequent growth of the motor traffic in the area, the necessity of the parking area expansion is evident. Therefore the National Park administrations activities for achieving this goal are generally deemed proper.

However, it should be emphasised that all this is being achieved by means of the relict forest cutting, which negatively affects the wild nature of the entire Bialowieza Forest. While being convenient for the National Park visitors, the parking location right beside the entrance has diametrically opposite effect for the forest nature.

At the same time there have been other variants how to settle the problem with the lack of space for the parking area. For instance, the additional parking area could be made by the road some 100 metres short of the old one where the meadow ends and the forest starts. In such a case a patch of the living Bialowieza forest could have been saved.

It is unknown whether such the option has been considered at all. There is also no information that this project underwent environmental impact assessment.

The following photos show that there is PLENTY OF SPACE not far from the old parking area where a new parking designed to accommodate a high number of cars could be maintained.

(A view of the area suitable for the maintenance of the new parking area; December 4, 2004)