How Svidovets was threatened with destruction
In 2016, the Transcarpathian State Administration announced its intention to build a ski resort of the same name on the mountain massif. At that time, the name of the investor was not disclosed. However, investigative journalists established that it is a company associated with oligarch Igor Kolomoiskyi. According to the developer’s plan, the area of the tourist complex was supposed to be 1,400 hectares, and the mega-resort itself was supposed to accommodate 28,000 people at the same time. In 2016, scientists, activists, and local residents spoke out against construction on Svidovka. The struggle of activists and environmentalists from the Free Svydovets movement in the courts lasted almost 7 years. Suddenly, during a full-scale war, it became known about the developer’s intentions to build 2 more resorts in the Carpathians and, together with the Bukovel resort, to form one huge monster resort for 65,000 tourists.
Big problems for nature, ecology and safety of visitors
In the conditions of climate change, the creation of a huge resort raises the question of its profitability. Is it worth building a city the size of more than half of Uzhhorod in the middle of the Carpathians, if snow is not expected at such low altitudes in the future? This year, many European ski resorts were forced to close at the height of the season due to unseasonably warm weather and a lack of snow. Obviously, artificial snow will be used for winter entertainment, which is very expensive and inefficient. Only the resort “Svidovets” is almost 9 thousand cubic meters of used water every day and the same amount of waste water. With two resorts announced in 2022, it will reach 15,000 cubic meters daily. To do this, it will be necessary to destroy the Carpathian rivers (in particular, the Black Tisza), arranging reservoirs and water intakes there. We will remind that in 2022 even the inhabitants of the highlands felt the drought.
Proponents of the “economic benefit” from the construction of the resort do not mind the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of almost 400 hectares of primeval forests, but they should think about the danger and compensation for the consequences of such construction. According to research by scientists from the NGO “Danube-Carpathian Program”, dangerous hydrometeorological phenomena will occur during the implementation of the project. It is about the danger of snow avalanches for tourists (critical risks to life). In addition, more than 100 mudslide-hazardous centers have been identified on the territory of the Svydovetsky massif, and the upper reaches of the Black Tisza belong to basins with a high level of flood danger.
How to protect Svidovets?
One of the options is to make the ridge protected. Four public environmental organizations, in particular WWF-Ukraine, have already submitted a petition to the ministry to create the “Free Svidovets” nature reserve with an area of more than 17,000 hectares. The customer will allow to preserve the mountain nature not only from construction, but also from unsustainable and illegal felling, common in the Carpathians. It is important that the reserve will not interfere with truly green tourism and traditional farming, because the reserves are not territories with a strict protection regime.
So far, the documents are awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environmental Protection. After that, the state enterprise “Forests of Ukraine” and the local communities of Svidovets must agree on the creation of the reserve.
However, it is very difficult to create a reserve without public publicity. Activists of the Free Svydovets movement launched a petition to the President with a request to preserve the wild nature of the Svydovets mountain range, contributing to the creation of a nature reserve there.