Man and nature
In the Nature Park Medvednica, the lives of people and the mountain are more intertwined than in most other protected areas. While the green fingers of Medvednica’s hillsides descend deep into the body of the million-people city, the streets of Zagreb penetrate the mountain more and more.
The motives which bring people to Medvednica have also changed a lot – at the beginning of the 20th century people mostly kept to the lower mountain areas, collecting wood or forest fruits. They would go deep into the mountain exclusively for work-related reasons: “vuglenari” (the people who used to produce coal), foresters, milkmen (who would carry their fresh produce from Zagorje across Medvednica to Zagreb markets) and the occasional hunter, mountaineer or adventurist were the only people who could be seen deep into the mountain forests. Today there are more and more visitors who go “to Sljeme” i.e. high regions of Medvednica, to enjoy the nature and healthy recreation. Whether they are experienced mountaineers, cyclists, recreationists, skiers or hikers, they are all just guests of the mountain, frequently unaware that they can disturb the fragile natural balance and endanger the fauna and flora with their inappropriate behaviour and actions.
So dear visitors of Medvednica, please keep in mind that you are a guest on this mountain! Treat it with respect and caution and it will offer you all of its treasures: clean air, green leaves, autumn colours, forest fruits, gurgle of mountain streams, forest scents and spring flowers.
That is why we kindly ask you to abide by the following rules:
Do not dispose of waste in the Nature Park! – Unfortunately, we can still find car wrecks, old refrigerators and washing machines, even carcases and small household waste in stream canyons, on hillsides, valleys and sinkholes. Such waste does not only undermine the beauty of the mountain, but it can also cause severe damage: some types of waste release hazardous chemical substances during degradation. These substances can interfere with natural reproduction cycles, harm microorganisms and pollute water streams. The leftovers of food thrown into the environment attract hungry animals and teach them to expect food from people. That is why we kindly ask you to dispose of waste in designated places!
Do not leave any traces! – There is no organized cleaning service on Medvednica which would clean the surfaces and take away the rubbish left on the mountain. That is why we kindly ask you to take your rubbish with you when you leave, in order to keep the mountain clean and nice.
Do not pluck plants or their parts! – Even though in the springtime it can seem that the forest is covered with a rug of flowers, many plants are protected by the law and their picking might jeopardize their survival on the mountain. If we take into consideration the number of people who visit the Park every year, it would be enough if everyone picked just one flower to devastate the flora on Medvednica!
Always keep your dogs on a leash! – The plants and animals on Medvednica live in a natural balance which took centuries to achieve and is very easy to disturb by introducing foreign species. Your pets are, just like you, guests on the mountain. They can encounter many temptations there, such as rabbits, rodents, bird nests, even wild game. Apart from that, the dogs might upset other Park visitors. That is why we kindly ask you to always keep your dogs on a leash.
Do not light a fire! – It is forbidden to light a fire within the Park area because it is very difficult to put out fires in inaccessible locations and because their effects can be lethal for the environment.
Do not camp! – Since the Hospitality and Catering Industry Act forbids camping outside arranged camps which meet the norms prescribed by the law, we kindly ask you to abide by this rule in the Nature Park as well.
Do not make noise! – When you visit nature, do not yell unnecessarily, play loud music or make noise in any other way. Loud noises frighten the animals and disturb their peace, so it is possible they stay in their shelter longer and miss out on feeding, sunning and other important activities.This might weaken and reduce their chances of surviving the winter. Apart from that, the noise can spoil the sensation of nature to other visitors who might want to enjoy the quietness and sounds of nature.
Even though many visitors see Medvednica as a peaceful and harmless mountain near the city, please keep in mind that this is true wilderness which hides potential dangers to careless visitors. That is why we suggest you follow these recommendations for a safe and pleasant stay in the nature:
Take warm clothing – The weather on the mountain can abruptly change and be very unpleasant, even dangerous. That is why it is good to always be prepared for unexpected gusts of cold wind, rain, snow or fog. In the summer it is important to wear sunscreen and/or a hat. It is also advisable to check the weather forecast before taking the trip to the mountain and choose equipment accordingly.
Wear appropriate footwear – Uneven terrain requires appropriate footwear which will make your walk safer and reduce the possibility of injury.
Bring enough water – Even though there are many marked sources of fresh water within the Park, some of them dry out during the summer months and no systemic monitoring of the quality of water is done on either one of them. That is why it is important to bring enough drinking water before climbing the mountain, especially if you plan on increasing your physical activity. Avoid drinking water from unmarked forest sources and puddles because forest rodents which can transmit some diseases and/or intestinal parasites to humans use those sources.
Walk along the marked mountain trails – Even though the possibility of getting lost on the peaceful Medvednica seems small, due to the complex relief and dense forests with limited visibility, it is easy to wander off if you don’t follow the marked trails. This can be particularly dangerous when the night starts falling and there are no other visitors who might hear your callouts for help. That is why we advise you to always walk along the marked mountain trails and plan your time ahead, in order not to be caught on the mountain at night.