In the Kočevsko region, in the southern Slovenia, untouched nature remains in the form of virgin forests. One of these rare remains of ancient times is the Virgin Forest Krokar inscribed on the UNESCO List, as one component part of the transnational site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”.
With a coverage of 74.50 ha, the Virgin Forest Krokar is defined by a wilderness scenery of beech and fir, with some of the densest and most vital carnivore populations. Brown bears, wolves, lynx, and golden eagles are just some examples of the original fauna inhabiting this fascinating forest.
Celebrating the Slovenian Forest Week 2021
Slovenian Forests Week is an annual event occuring in late May and linking all institutions involved in the management of the Slovenian forests to raise awareness about the importance of forests and forestry to the wider society. This year, one of the activities took place on 20th May 2021, when around 30 guests were invited to the official opening ceremony of the new trail in the Virgin Forest Krokar.
Among the attendees, relevant guests included Janez Logar, acting director of the Slovenia Forest Service (SFS), Robert Tomazin, director of the Slovenian State Forests (SiDG), and Anton Harej, state secretary from Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. Other guests present included the deputy mayor of Kočevje municipality, the representative of mayor of Osilnica municipality, and the head of sector for nature conservation from the Ministry of Environment.
Representatives of BEECH POWER also had the chance to be present and speak about the role of the project in the setup of the trail. After the opening ceremony, all participants were invited to hike along the trail, while BEECH POWER partner Slovenia Forest Service presented the trail, area, beech forest, and UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
New trail in the Virgin Forest Krokar
Since the inscription of Krokar on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017, the component part has experienced an increase in visitor numbers. Further, a large proportion of those visitors are unaware of the regulations in place and the boundaries of the area. This results in the unintentional trespassing in the WH component part, which is under strict protection at the national level. For this reason, the trail was arranged to address the need for direction of visitors who want to experience the primeval forest, away from the actual World Heritage component part, to preserve its integrity.
The circular Virgin Forest Trail Krokar is roughly 2 kilometres long, with 150 altitudinal metres of a relatively steep ascent. With a moderate pace, and equipped with suitable hiking footwear, visitors can walk the trail in about one hour. The trail goes through the Borovec forest reserve to the edge of the Virgin Forest Krokar, where visitors can, respectfully and without entering the virgin forest, admire the results of thousands of years of undisturbed natural processes.