People have always been running in the mountains, to advance faster, to bring news, for personal enjoyment, for emergencies… In fact, there are probably as many motivations as potential runners.
However, is only since few years ago that running has become a competitive activity involving lots of people and affecting most of the mountain areas, some of which are protected natural spaces (national parks, natural reserves, natural areas of national interest).
Obviously, any outdoors activity involves some kind of impact or perturbation to the natural environment. Therefore, everyone enjoying it must consider actions to make it sustainable and to minimize its impact. In this regard, the Galichica Natural Park requests all runners of Ohrid Trail to always take into consideration the following points at any time:
- Always stay on the track or path when running or walking. This helps keeping them open, as well as minimizes the erosion problems usually linked to making shortcuts.
- Ensure that any food or drink wrapping remains inside your pockets or in the backpack after using it. Not littering will keep the paths free of papers, plastics or other trash, preventing the animals to eat them with the consequent intestinal problems.
- Try to leave the mountain cleaner than when you found it. Pick the rubbish that you may find in your way (or part of it), and put it in the dustbin.
- It is quite usual to find domestic animals on or near the path (cows, horses, sheep), observing with certain mistrust, particularly when young ones are present. Avoid altering them, slow your pace, take some distance from the animals and do not touch them.
- Sometimes dogs accompany the flock, protecting the animals from bear, wolf or wild dog attacks. In this case you must circle around the flock (never cross it), avoid touching the animals, allow the dog to sniff at you and confirm you are not a threat, and continue walking at slow pace until getting enough distance.
- Wild animals usually avoid human presence. If by chance you come across a wild boar, a deer or any other animal, you should stop and leave space for the animal to escape from you. To prevent a defensive action from the animal, it is not recommended to walk towards it.
- Mountains have always been a convivial place. Greeting the people you come across helps maintaining a good atmosphere. Commenting any incidences we may have found along the way may be helpful to other users.
- Moving our body also moves our intestines, which may bring the need to empty them. Please dig a small hole with your heel and defecate inside, then cover your excrements and any paper used with soil, leaves and rocks.
- Raise your eyes from the track from time to time to look around you and fully enjoy the beautiful landscape surrounding you. Knowing and enjoying nature is the first step to loving and respecting it.
- Friends and family coming as public or to provide support to runners should also be aware of the exceptionality of this natural environment, which needs to be respected and protected. Please behave respectfully, for example by parking only in appropriate areas (never in non-designated fields), not littering, not being too loud, not trespassing on private properties, respecting the high grass fields, etc…