We hosted the representatives of the European Commission on September 19-20, 2017, during the first visit of the European Commission in the Project: Mrs. Anna Franek – a Technical Officer, Mr Tommy Sejersen – a Financial Officer and Mr Stanislaw Tworek - the Project Monitor.
The first day of the visit was stationary in character and took place at the Complex of Landscape Parks in the Silesian Voivodship in Będzin. This part of the visit involved the familiarizing of the Commission's representatives with the details of the project tasks, reviewing the financial documentation of the Project and presenting the vision of the future in the Project.
On the second day of the visit, the representatives of the EC, together with the Project employees, carried out a site visit. In this section, we focused on presenting the problems encountered by the employees during the Project, the means of conflict resolution worked out over the years and the threats resulting from neglecting the actions taken during the Project.
In spite of unfavorable weather, we were able to visit the areas located higher, worth presenting because of a high species richness, well-preserved patches of valuable natural habitats, and a huge progress in restoring the former landscape. During a rainy walk from the PTTK Shelter on Rysianka to the Pawlusia Pass and the Łyśniewska Glade , interesting talks were conducted about the results of the work in the Project, the ways of further protection, as well as touristic and sightseeing curiosities from the region
Due to the exclusion of the two areas that were initially designated for conducting the active nature conservation activities in the Project, the replacement area, located on Wilcza Gronie, above Rajcza and Ujsoły, was presented to the representatives of the EC. Among others, the second type of the habitat protected in the project was presented there: the Trisetum hay grass meadows and the Bentgrass meadows used extensively.
Then, the visit to the shephard’s hut in Bukowina in the district of Węgierska Górka was organized, where the representatives of the European Commission had a chance to taste regional products made of sheep's cheese, and could also observe the production of oscypki. Its additional advantage was the fact that the milk came from the flock purchased under the Project. In addition to presenting the infrastructure tasks, there was a discussion about the need to expand the tourist facilities in Beskid Żywiecki.
The direct contact with the LIFE project supervising body is a crucial part of the project work. Frequently, interesting information concerning the Project is omitted in the backlog of administrative cases included in the technical reports submitted to the European Commission. The legal aspects, complicated procedures, the technical language of various reports make the issues of nature conservation and the goals of the Project less tangible, due to which the Project becomes less expressive. We hope that thanks to the aforementioned visit, the Life + Beskidy Project will be expanded in the European Commission's consciousness as a difficult project, because of its vast area, and a project run by passionate people, precisely meeting the needs of nature and the society, without the support of which the protection of open areas in the Beskidy Mointains would not be possible.