"Rila" National Park Official site

The seven Rila lakes are under threat

At the beginning of the active tourist season in the high mountains, the Rila National Park Directorate is again faced with the challenges of managing the circus of the Seven Rila Lakes. The scientific conference on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Park's declaration, which took place on June 3, 2022, once again confirmed that the lakes are threatened by gradual swamping and disappearance.
• All scientific studies indicate that intensive tourism is the main threat to lake ecosystems. More information can be found here, here and here;
• The two main factors that have a negative impact are erosion along the hiking trails, leading to landslides in the lakes and organic pollutants from the hut and tent camps in the circus;
• All this leads both to siltation of the lakes and to an influx of additional nutrients, creating conditions for the development of atypical vegetation, which also contributes to swamping; both scientists and practitioners conclude that to save the lakes and stop the swamping, the action of the two main factors that cause it must be limited. You can learn more from the discussion on the topic held earlier this month - jbgs.arphahub.com/article/78709/?fbclid=IwAR16oU762UuINxkEpkj-H-zRonfNgWcF3IkA0MS8N9sFoAolunOL2HqGFNY; 
If we want this to happen, without extreme measures such as restricting access, we need all visitors to the area to show responsibility and reduce their impact on the ecosystems by:
• Move only along the marked hiking trails;
• They do not enter the lakes;
• They do not pollute;
• They do not bivouac outside the designated places;
• They do not use unregulated vehicles to access the circus;
• Support the work of park security officers by reporting illegal activities on phone number 0884 111 400;

Here are the leading measures that the Rila National Park Directorate plans to implement in 2022 in order to limit the negative impacts of the increased human presence in the circus of the Seven Lakes:
• Providing more and better information for visitors so that everyone understands the problem and the need for the introduced restrictions;
• Strengthening of the main hiking trails to reduce erosion along them;
• Better control of the tourist flow by the employees of the Directorate, which ensures the compliance of the rules by the visitors;
• Clearing the lakes of vegetation and bottom deposits, to maintain them in an excellent ecological condition;
• Improving the monitoring of visitors and the state of ecosystems to track whether we are actually achieving the results we are aiming for.
Only together, we can preserve the natural wealth of Rila and make it so that future generations also have the opportunity to enjoy it!
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30 years Rila National Park