Lurë National Park
|Lurë National Park|
|Area||1,280 hectares (12.8 km2)|
|Established||21 November 1966|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment|
Lura National Park (Albanian: Parku Kombëtar i Lurës) is a national park that encompasses the eastern side of the Kunora e Lurës 2,119 m (6,952 ft), being the highest summit in the Lurë Mountains in northeastern Albania, spanning an area of 12.8 km2 (4.9 sq mi). It was established in 1966 to protect the natural heritage of the national park such as its twelve glacial lakes and biodiversity. The altitude varies from 1,500 m (4,921 ft). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the park as Category II. The national park offers variety of possibilities for ecotourism, sustainable tourism and other activities.
The park falls within the Pindus Mountains mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub. Due to a great variability in elevation, a rich diversity of climates, flora and fauna can be found within the park. The most common type of tree in the park is the beech and fir, at altitudes between 900 and 1,000 m (2,953 and 3,281 ft) to 1,900 and 2,000 m (6,234 and 6,562 ft). The black pine are abundant between 1,600 and 1,700 m (5,249 and 5,577 ft) elevation, and red pines are found on rocky slopes between 1,700 and 2,000 m (5,577 and 6,562 ft) elevation. These forests are home to the rare brown bear, lynx, eurasian wolf, pine marten, roe deer and western capercaillie. The southern part of the park has a meadow of multi-color flowers and coniferous trees called the Field of Mares, which offers scenic views. However, the twelve glacial lakes within the national park, that were formed during the ice age. They are located in the northeastern part of the nation in the Dibër County at an elevation between 1,200 and 1,500 m (3,937 and 4,921 ft).
According to Albanian poet Gjergj Fishta, "him who has not seen Lura, has not seen Albania", while traveler Edith Durham has been quoted as follows:"When I came up the Qafë Lurë, I saw such a beautiful field, that I had never seen in any place of the Balkans". Stemming from such natural beauty, the Albanian government declared the area a national park in 1966.
However, following the fall of communism in the 1990, the area suffered massive deforestation from illegal logging, and forest fires that severely affected ecosystems. In fact, it is estimated that as far as 50% of the park's area has been destroyed. In 2014, the Government of Albania launched a controversial rehabilitation campaign including reforestation, roadwork, and the putting of new signs.
However, some local stakeholders have criticized the project as merely superficial. In the meantime, non-governmental organizations are trying to revitalize the park by contributing in the planting of trees and removal of debris around the lakes, some of which are drying up. Nature is also helping by naturally spreading seeds of new trees which are growing at different areas of the park. Accommodation consists of two family run hotels and several guesthouses near the park in Fushe-Lure.
Within the Lurë National Park, there are twelve lakes of glacial origin, situated in the north of the national park. The lakes are situated between 1,500 and 1,700 metres elevation above sea level. Each lake carries a name associated with its most characteristic feature.
- University of Tirana. "TURIZMI NË RRETHIN E DIBRËS" (PDF). doktoratura.unitir.edu.al (in Albanian). Tirana. p. 40.
- "RRJETI I ZONAVE TË MBROJTURA NË SHQIPËRI" (PDF). mjedisi.gov.al (in Albanian). p. 1.
- "PROTECTED AREAS IN THE DISTRICT OF DIBRA AND ASSESSMENT OF THEIR TOURIST" (PDF). idpublications.org. p. 13.
Lura national park, declared by DCM no. 96, dated 21.11.1966, with a total area of 1280 hectares (category II).
- "Lura Geopark Albania" (PDF). progeo.ngo. p. 2.
The most widespread trees in this forest is beech, which begins from 900-1000m above the sea level up to the most upper level of the forest (1900-2000m).
- "Lura National Park". akzm.gov.al.
Large protected mammals as bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), lynx (Felis lynx), chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), among birds we highlight the presence of the wild turkey ( Tatrao urogallus ) and eagles (Aquila chrysaetos).
- "PROTECTED AREAS IN THE DISTRICT OF DIBRA AND ASSESSMENT OF THEIR TOURIST" (PDF). idpublications.org. p. 14.
The lakes are formed in the quaternary geologic period about 4-5 million years ago, when the highest mountains in Europe were covered with thick ice, and other regions too, up to hundreds of meters
- "2 million trees for the Lura Park". top-channel.tv. 10 June 2014.
More than 2 million trees will be planned in 300 hectares. The General Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Alqi Bllako, declared that the Ministry has contacted two private companies which will pave 18 kilometers of road within two years, rehabilitate the area and clean the lakes.
- "Initiation of Lura National Park rehabilitation and reforestation project". ata.gov.al. 14 June 2014.
Rehabilitation of Lura National Park aims to create opportunities for sustainable tourism development in the area, provide employment opportunities for local residents, aiming to minimize the illegal pressures on natural resources of the area and returning the balance of rural tourism development, in view of the natural resources and products offered by the area.