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Vjosa, the last wild river in Europe and the importance of making it a National Park [Jun 2024]

This mighty river known for its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife and cultural significance

Vjosa River Rafting by Active Albania
Vjosa River Rafting by Active Albania

In the recent years, there has been growing concern over the conservation of the world’s rivers, with the Vjosa River in Albania being no exception. This mighty river, which runs free from its source in the Pindos Mountains and is known for its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and cultural significance, is now one step closer to becoming a national park.

The Vjosa River, which is considered one of the last wild rivers in Europe, is a crucial source of water, food, and energy for the people who live along its banks. This river, which is approximately 240 km long, is home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species, including otters, eagles, and the endangered Balkan lynx. It is also an important migration route for many fish species, including salmon and trout, which make their way up the river to spawn in its tributaries.

Despite its ecological importance, the Vjosa River has been under threat for many years. Plans for hydroelectric dams, as well as illegal fishing, logging, and other activities, have put pressure on this fragile ecosystem. The creation of a national park would go a long way in ensuring the long-term conservation of this unique and valuable resource.

Vjosa River in Albania

A national park status would bring numerous benefits to the Vjosa River, including increased protection against development and human activities, as well as greater investment in conservation and management efforts. The park would also bring new economic opportunities to the local communities, including ecotourism and other sustainable activities.

The journey towards the creation of a national park has not been easy, but there is now reason to be optimistic. The Albanian government has shown its commitment to the project by taking steps to create a protected area, and a draft bill is currently under review. The government has also worked with local communities, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that their needs and concerns are taken into account in the planning process.

Vjosa River Rafting by Albania Rafting Group
Vjosa River Rafting by Albania Rafting Group

The creation of a national park is an important step in the right direction, but it is not enough on its own. The long-term protection and management of the Vjosa River will require ongoing efforts and support from all stakeholders. But the potential benefits, both for the environment and the local communities, are too great to ignore.

In conclusion, the Vjosa River is a unique and valuable resource that deserves to be protected for future generations. Its potential as a national park is a cause for hope, and a reminder of the importance of conserving our natural heritage for the benefit of all.

Vjosa River in Albania