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Pirin National Park illegal ski resort, Bulgaria


Since 1983 Pirin National Park (NP) is a mountain territory under the highest nature protection standards according to Bulgarian law. The NP is rich in unique natural resources including 120-year-old pine woods. Since 2000 a local development plan (DP) for the town of Bankso - a gateway to the Pirin NP includes huge expansion of the existing ski zone (ski runs and infrastructure).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Pirin National Park illegal ski resort, Bulgaria
State or province:Bulgaria
Location of conflict:Bansko
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Establishment of reserves/national parks
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Chemical industries
Logging and non timber extraction
Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific commodities:
Tourism services
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Project area:165
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:2001
Company names or state enterprises:ULEN AD from Bulgaria
Relevant government actors:Ministery of Environment, Pirin National Park, Municipality of Bansko
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:For the Nature NGOs coalition
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Negotiated alternative solution
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:For the Nature calls for the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to stop all building activity within protected territories, to terminate the concession contract with Ulen AD, to take possession of the illegally developed land, and also to seek compensation for the illegal use of territories as well as to recultivate the illegally developed Pirin National Park territories, which are part of the Natura 2000 ecological network and UNESCOs world heritage.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the government admitted that UlenAD had unlawfully grabbed, used and destroyed state property in a National Park, there is no plan to start legal action against the company. Moreover the Government is proposing to change the concession law in order to solve the problem, and for not causing trouble to the investor.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Pirin National Park Management Plan (NPDP)
[click to view]

Council Directive 92/43/EEC, establishing the Natura2000 Network
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Za Zemiata
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dragomira Raeva
Last update08/04/2014
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