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The Center for the Indigenous Species of Fish and Crawfish in Karstic Waters as an Interesting Tourist Offer

23 November 2009 No Comment

The Croatian Center for the indigenous species of fish and crawfish in karstic waters located at the Kostelka source in Ličko Lešće was founded for the purpose of scientific research and expert indigenous species farming, but in less than a year, it was discovered by tourists and travel agencies as an interesting tourist destination. Representatives from the town of Otočac and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have recently signed an agreement according to which they will jointly finance its upgrade. The aim is to provide the center with an adequate presentation area in order to present the story of indigenous species of fish and crawfish in karstic waters, especially in the River Gacka, to the increasing number of visitors in the best and the most attractive way. The local authorities see the project as the first step in the creation of a story that focuses on the importance of preserving the waters and which would, in the future, lead to the construction of the Waters Center on the area of the abandoned hydroelectric power plant in Švica. They are convinced that the center will show that tourism and biodiversity protection can go hand in hand, and prove that it is possible to both protect the natural surroundings and live from them. The Croatian Center for the indigenous species of fish and crawfish in karstic waters, whose construction was funded by the European Union as one of the first projects within the PHARE 2005 Programme, was officially opened in November last year, and the founders were the town of Otočac, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Ruđer Bošković Institute and Gacka d.o.o. Two American journalists Ashley Colburn and John Needden recently witnessed the beauties of Gacka and recorded authentic scenes for the purpose of two TV shows, “Vicarious Escapes” and “Wow Croatia” on this very river. UNDP also financially supports the “Every Drop Matters – River Gacka” project within which a map with two new cycling maps was recently published. The map is titled “The Path of Water and Karst – Discover Gacka and Velebit on a Bike” since it contains a map of the cycling trails which lead along River Gacka and the bottom of Velebit Mountain. It is a redesigned map of the Barkan trails, almost 43 kilometers long, which follows the River Gacka flow from Otočac to the source and back, and a map of the new trail titled “The Three Lakes Trail”.

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