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Project "Catalyzing development of Kugu Kakshan Reserve" launched

A joint project of the Natural Heritage Protection Fund and the EcoCenter "Zapovedniks" "Catalyzing local socio-economic development using the natural and cultural potential of the planned Biosphere Reserve of Kugu Kakshan" has been launched. The project is supported by the European Union.

The project is a follow-up to a successfully implemented TACIS pilot project entitled "Catalyzing local socio-economic and cultural initiatives using the natural and cultural potential of the region through rural tourism development (RTD)", implemented by the EcoCenter "Zapovedniks" in the Kilemarsky region of the Mari El Republic, Russia.

The planned Biosphere Reserve of Kugu Kakshan is unique in its natural wealth and cultural heritage.

The prosperity of the local population is an essential prerequisite for a successful functioning of the new Protected Nature Area.

The project offers an effective solution to the task of improving the living standards of the people living in the reserve territory.

The popularity of environmental and rural tourism is growing all over the world. Tourists seek to know more of the cultural heritage, customs and ways of the local population, and the wildlife in the area.

The territories of the Medvedevsky, Kilemarsky and Zvenigovsky regions of Mari El, which constitute the Biosphere Reserve, have all the prerequisites for developing rural tourism.

The core goal of the project is to encourage such development through initiating the process of creating the market of tourist services by the local residents themselves, as well as partner organizations that are interested in the project.

Our plans for the near future include holding a seminar to establish a Board to manage the program of rural tourism development in the territory of the planned Biosphere Reserve and organizing a study visit by the Project team to the Kenozery National Park.

The Project is planned for two years.

Partners of the project are Kilemarsky and Medvedevsky regions' municipal authorities, NGO "Information, tourist, cultural and business centre of Mari El Republic", "Bolshaya Kokshaga" State Biosphere Reserve, NGO "Arhipelaag" (from Hiiumaa, Estonia), NGO "Biodiversity Conservation Center" (BCC).