Strengthening tourism: With the “Nature for Recovery” project, Skakavac is positioned on the map of green destinations in Europe

In addition to the highest waterfall in Southeast Europe, Skakavac was today the place where the results of the “Nature for recovery” project were presented. It is a project whose goal was to strengthen the tourism sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to popularize Skakavac as a unique tourist area with a stećak necropolis (monumental medieval tombstones), beautiful viewpoints, springs, Via Ferrata climbing areas, mountain lodges and many places to rest in nature. The project is co-financed by the European Union and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The value of this area was also recognized by the Municipality of Centar, and Mayor Srđan Mandić said that Skakavac is the right place to escape from the fog and crowds because of everything it has. This is exactly why they decided to invest in this area and make it even more attractive and accessible, as well as safer and more protected.

Great job done

“Our goal is for Skakavac to be an even more organized space for mountaineers, athletes, hikers and all nature lovers while keeping up with new technologies and trends. We marked and digitally mapped 65 kilometres of trails, arranged the Via Ferrata as an attractive climbing area, added information boards, boards and signs, new fountains and benches for resting in nature and much more. With this kind of systemic approach, the entire wider community benefits because not only is this area systematically organized, but we have provided direct support for the development of sports and tourism potential, contributed to the protection of the environment and greater safety of visitors, but at the same time, we are contributing to the greater visitation of this locality. Thus and the development of local entrepreneurship, sports and sports events”, said Mandić.

Over 60 kilometres of digitally mapped trails available on the free SOAR app for Android and IOS platforms are at the disposal of lovers of nature and sports activities in nature on Skakavac. The courses are categorized and visually marked, and offer the possibility of visiting a large number of recommended and famous locations.

Haris Sijarić, Head of Service for local economic development and local self-government, said that they approached this project with a lot of attention and dedication.

“We have done a great job, but there is still a lot to be done. Of all that we are planning, I would single out the children’s adrenaline park that is in the process of being set up at the Bukovik location, and soon mountain bikes will also be available for rent to ride on these trails. We will offer products from local small and medium-sized companies on wooden stands at the Skakavac locality, and we will also create a website for the Skakavac locality, to better promote its potential. The following year in we plan to establish accommodation facilities in the very nucleus of the nature park. In addition to all this, we also created a project for the reconstruction of the steps leading to the waterfall, so in the coming period we will also select a contractor for this work,” Sijarić said and invited everyone to download the Sarajevo Outdoor Routes (SOAR) application and explore a large number of famous locations located on Skakavac.

Asad Jelešković, director of the Cantonal Public Institution for Protected Natural Areas of Sarajevo Canton, reminded us that this year marked the 20th anniversary of the declaration of the wider area of ​​the Skakavac waterfall as protected.

Development of the local community

The “Nature for Recovery” project is financed through the European Union project “EU4BusinessRecovery”, which aims to provide support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in mitigating the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The need to further develop the local community and create new tourism potential in the area, while respecting all legal restrictions imposed by the protected area, is the reason why the Institution agreed to be a participant in this project together with partners, the Municipality of Centar and SERDA. This project further develops the protected area of ​​the Skakavac Nature Monument, where the desire is to position ourselves on the map of green destinations in Europe and become recognized as one of the unique attractive tourist destinations of Sarajevo Canton”, said Jelešković, director of the KJU for protected natural areas.

At the presentation of the results of the project, a video was shown in which, in addition to the beautiful landscapes from Skakavac, it was pointed out that five hiking trails, two tourist trails, two bicycle trails, a Via Ferrata circuit and four connections between hiking trails and toponyms have been digitally mapped in this area.

Close to 56 km of trails are available for the Skakavac – Bukovik area, and at 136 points there is a QR code for downloading this extremely useful application. Five Sarajevo Outdoor Route info boards, six double-sided info totems, 124 directional and sponsor boards, 11 educational and informational boards and boards, 1,100 path markers (reflective markings), 40 wooden poles and 50 snow PVC markings were installed on the field.

The Via Ferrata is also arranged – a unique location in the vicinity of Sarajevo and an attractive trail/climbing area of ​​2.4 km, with 17 directions for adrenaline lovers. From its top, on a 10-meter mast, the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina flies.

The EU4Business Recovery project is worth 13.7 million euros, and it is jointly financed by the European Union with 13 million euros and the Federal Republic of Germany with 700 thousand euros. It is jointly implemented by GIZ, ILO and UNDP.