A slight noise nearby made me stop and turn around. Three steps away, two surprised eyes of a fox-cub looked at me from behind a pine tree.
Remembering the instructions of Anatoly Kalina, Director of the Curonian Spit National Park, not to give any food to the animals in the Park, I did not offer a sandwich to the puppy, although I really wanted to treat a curious and brave small animal to something.
This is just one episode of encountering an inhabitant of the natural reserve located on the border between the Kaliningrad Region and the Republic of Lithuania. Numerous tourists I had a chance to talk to after visiting the National Park told with delight about encountering wild pigs boldly approaching the people and “asking” for food, about the agile squirrels following them on the tops of trees, about the graceful swans in the Curonian Lagoon.
But most of the visitors admire the beauty of the stunning nature of the National Park due to its largest sand bar - tombolo - in the world. The dune landscapes of the Spit are amazing and beautiful and they are a unique object for the development of ecological tourism. Strange as it may seem, people are the ones who do the damage to this beauty.
Anatoly Kalina, Director of the National Park, talks about this with more than discontentment.
- During the summer holidays, the employees of the State Environmental Inspectorate conduct raids in the National Park almost every day. There are a lot of violators. These include those staying in the protected area, driving and parking off the public roads and parking lots, and also building the huts on the beaches using the materials designed to strengthen the embankments. A lot of garbage is left by the visitors who come to the Park to relax and admire the beauty of the Curonian Spit. The volunteers are of great help in cleaning the area - many thanks to them for their help!
Anatoly Anatolyevich has reasons to be displeased. After all, the workers of the National Park do their best to give a chance to the visitors to admire the unique Park and do no harm to nature. But some people do not like to move along the special trails equipped with wooden walkways. There are also people who find it difficult to walk 100 metres from the parking lot to the seashore, and they drive through the embankment straight to the beach. Such “lazy” tourists, of course, are fined, but the fines cannot compensate the damage caused.
The Curonian Spit National Park keeps on improving the area. The old eco-trails are under repair, new ones are being equipped, and the scenic view points are being renovated. The Curonian Spit - the crown jewel of Kaliningrad - welcomes the guests from all over the world. And the management of the National Park hopes that the visitors will be friendly to nature.
Leaving the Curonian Spit, I had to stop at one of the turns as a wild pig and its striped piglets were eating something on the road verge. Apparently, someone could not resist the temptation and gave some food to the “mother with many children” and the “kids”.