Expedition "Walking the Via Dinarica" began its journey through Croatia

28 Sep 2013

The successful  three-month long expedition led by the famous alpinist Kenan Muftić and photographer Elma Okić, "Walking the Via Dinarica," began in August in Albania and continued over high mountain ranges of the Dinarides, arriving today  at Plitvice Lakes National Park, thus beginning it's journey through Croatia. Because the expedition is part of a regional project which aims to promote rural development of the Dinarides, it is jointly led by the Adventure Tourism Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ATA BiH),the United Nations Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina,Croatia and Montenegro, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“We have been on our fifth week of the route Via Dinarica—we have entered Croatia after passing through Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Apart from the nature and the mountains, a very important aspect behind Via Dinarica are the people who live here and are in some way connected with the Dinarides and everything that is happening in this area,” stated Muftić. “In order for this idea to become sustainable, it is inevitable to include all partners on site—from the local population to mountain climbing associations and decision makers. This should be just the beginning of a long term development based on the needs and ideas of local partners.”

The Via Dinarica project was inspired by the success of the Via Alpine project, which through the usage of EU funds and the networking efforts of eight countries, managed to invest significant material means. In order to produce a similarly high-quality project, the organizing team decided that from June to December 2013,  they would conduct field research and hold numerous meetings with the representatives of protected areas, local and regional governments, tourist agencies, mountain climbing associations and clubs, and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service.

“The Dinarides mountain range in Croatia has the biggest number of protected areas with the highest degree of protection such as strict reservations, national parks and nature parks which attract many visitors”, stated Marija Jurčević, Program Assistant at UNDP’s Programme for Environmental Governance, referring to the Institute of Tourism’s survey which revealed that 21 per cent of tourists who visited Croatia during 2012 cited nature as their main attraction to the country. “Looking at the world trends, protected areas are increasingly seen as the key generators of local development through ecological, societal and economic collaboration with the local population. Through the project Via Dinarica, we want to promote this kind of an approach in Croatia as well, and with the development of protected areas, encourage the development of “green jobs“in rural areas," stated Jurčević.

Also partnering with UNDP on the expedition “Walking the Via Dinarica” in Croatia is the Mountain Guides Station Zagreb (SPVZ).

“Station Mountain Guides Zagreb is a nonprofit professional association in alpine sport under the wing of Croatian Mountaineering Association. We gather almost one hundred volunteer guides trained and licensed to act as guides through Croatian mountains in all conditions with expressed goals of improving the knowledge and skills of our mountaineering guides,” stated Davor Banić, Head of the Station Mountain Guides Zagreb. “Project Via Dinarica’s goal is exactly that: creating conditions for higher quality logistics, development of Croatian and regional mountain areas with the maximum nature protection for those who live off the mountains and enjoy them.”

The core team (which will walk the Dinaride mountain range through five countries from Albania to Slovenia) will be joined in Croatia  by the guides of the Croatian Mountaineering Association, outdoor journalists, and representatives of UNDP. The journey through Croatia will last from 28 September  to 10 October 2013. Mountains visited include: Biokovo, Mosor, Promina, Dinara, Velebit, Kapela, Risnjak and Snježnik.

Where we are by dates:

28.9. National Park Plitvice Lakes
29.9. Transfer toward Biokovo Nature Park
30.9. Biokovo; transfer toward the Mosor mountain
1.10. Mosor
2.10. Promina; transfer toward Glavaš
3.10. Dinara; transfer toward Paklenica National Park
4.10. Modrič Cave; Paklenica climbing
5.10. Paklenica; transfer toward Baške Oštarije
6.10. Velebit Nature Park; transfer toward Kuterevo
7.10. Kuterevo; North Velebit National Park (Premužić walk)
8.10. Reservoir Samarske and white rocks
9.10. Risnjak National Park (Snježnik and Platak)
10.10. Conclusions and transfer toward Slovenia

You can follow the Walking the Via Dinarica expedition on: