Nature tourism as a tool for
Muezersky District
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union.
The contents of the publication is the sole responsibility of City of Lieksa and
can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

Russian version Environmental Education Materials
About project
Project aims
Major project activities
Relevant projects
Project results

Water tourism

Geomorphology and landscapes
Rivers and lakes

Natural Resources

Protected Areas
Analysis and evaluation
Lake Tulos

Social potential
Subsurface resources
Nature tourism

About Site

European Union

The project is founded by the European Union

City of Leksa

This project is implemented by the City of Lieksa

Natural complexes of the Muezersky District and their use in nature tourism

The book briefly describes the natural complexes and their current condition, points out the most valuable nature objects (in terms of nature conservation and tourism), gives some recommendations on the study of the flora and fauna. A short list of recommended readings is provided at the end of each chapter. The publication is supplied with maps, photographs and other illustrations.

Nature protection and ecotourism (learning aid for schoolchildren, graduate students and tourism actors)

This collective monograph shaped as a learning aid deals with problems of ecotourism development and related nature conservation issues. The book is meant for a broad readership - schoolchildren, graduate students, managers and staff of tourist companies, trainees of further education and re-training courses, post-graduate students, staff of nature conservation organisations.

Scientific pre-requisites for the development of ecotourism and nature conservation in Russia and Republic of Karelia are considered, the directions and results of modern studies in the sphere are analysed. Special focus is placed on issues of environmental education in schools and universities, the learning materials currently used in Russia to teach ecology are analysed. Examples and techniques of creating nature trails and educational routes are provided.

The book comprises the following major sections:

  • Holistic approach, the concept, ideas and principles of ecotourism.
  • Analysis of the potential for ecotourism development in Russia.
  • Nature conservation, organisation and current situation with nature protection in Russia, Republic of Karelia and abroad.
  • State-of-the-art and development of ecotourism in Republic of Karelia. Current challenges in ecotourism.
  • Environmental education.

The concept and principles of ecotourism. Ecotourism implies "all forms of recreation in natural areas that do not harm natural complexes, benefit the conservation of the site and the economic well-being of local residents" (WWF). In other words, it is sustainable, nature-oriented tourism and recreation.

International practices in ecotourism are based on the following basic principles:

  • sustainable use of natural resources;
  • ensuring the preservation of the natural, social and cultural diversity;
  • thorough planning, holistic approach, integration of ecotourism into regional development plans;
  • local involvement in tourism development and financial and other benefits from the activities to local people;
  • increasing environmental awareness of the visitors; close collaboration between various organizations; staff training;
  • reduction of overuse and costs.

Thus, organisations developing ecotourism strive for their business to practically contribute to long-term nature conservation and local development. Ecotourism development is not just business, and gaining as much profit as possible is not the aim in itself.

Potential for ecotourism development in Russia. Ideas of ecotourism and conservation have undergone a long way of evolution - from the ethic-esthetic approach in the pre-revolutionary Russia and scientific-utilitarian approach during the USSR times to the humanistic approach in modern Russia.

Pre-requisites for ecotourism development in Russia are provided by a large number of protected areas holding significant potential:

  1. At the moment, protected areas are virtually the only establishments in regions that can take over the functions of planning, managing and monitoring tourist activities.
  2. Strict nature reserves have science departments, which functions include continuous monitoring of natural ecosystems. Altogether, they represent a network of research institutions covering diverse nature zones. This makes Russian strict nature reserves very promising for any kinds of learning tourism, student practices, scientific tours and volunteer programmes.
  3. Combination of environmental education and ecotourism in strict nature reserves will notably raise the efficiency of environmental education and draw wide public attention to nature conservation problems.
  4. Protected areas can become a source of new jobs and extra income for the local community. Ecotourism development in protected areas will attract more international attention and investments to the region.

State-of-the-art in nature conservation and ecotourism in Karelia. Republic of Karelia currently has 266 protected nature objects with a total area of 957521,2 ha, i.e. 5.3% of the republic's total area (tab.). The first PA of Karelia - the "Kivach" strict nature reserve - was designated in 1931. Most PA's were organised between 1960 and 1996.

Current protected nature fund of Republic of Karelia (as of 01.01.2004)

PA categoryNo of objectsArea, ha% of total area of Karelia
1. State strict nature reserves 2 59944* 0,33
2. National parks 2 234900 1,30
3. Nature parks 1 24700 0,14
4. Partial reserves 47 572615 3,17
5. Nature monuments 109 40527 0,23
6. Botanical gardens 1 367  
7. Resort forests around the "Martsialnye Vody" spa" 1 7000  0,04
Total PA 164 940053 5,21
Incl. other areas and objects with a protection status 266 957521,2 5,3

Protected areas in Republic of Karelia cover a total of 1897,600 ha or 8.0% of the republic's area. Various forms of ecotourism are either practised or planned for implementation in these areas.

Challenges in ecotourism in Karelia. Ecotourism development in the republic faces a number of serious problems, which solution requires a systemic approach. The problems to be mentioned are:

  • first, the lack of qualified guides;
  • second, routes and trails require thorough scientific argumentation;
  • third, a procedure for removing the inevitable garbage from the trails is necessary.

Besides, there exist also general problems not specific to ecotourism, but related to any kind of tourism. These are:

  • lack of an integrated information system for ecotourism objects and sites;
  • underestimated role of ecotourism in the system of restorative nature use;
  • underestimated role of ecotourism in the system of restorative nature use;
  • underdeveloped tourism infrastructure.

Environmental education. The aim of environmental education is to mould the environmental culture of the individual and the society as a set of practical and spiritual experience of interactions between people and nature securing the survival and development of the humanity.

The environmental education system rests on the following principles:

Humanisation approach, according to which environmental education programmes should reflect moral and legal standards.

Scientific approach, which implies a sufficient level of reliable academic information about the organisation of the biosphere as the living environment for humans, study of objective patterns in the sustainable development of natural-social systems.

Prognostic approach focuses on the problem of forming the ability to foresee and plan the conditions for the preservation of the biosphere gene pool and the health of human populations in schoolchildren.

The principle of interrelated teaching of global, regional and local aspects of ecology focuses on the identification of environmental problems as the consequence of improper actions of people neglecting the ecological imperative.
The principle of integrating natural science, ethic-aesthetic, socio-economic, legal aspects of ecological interactions.

Continuity principle implies gradual, step-by-step formation of the personal environmental responsibility.

Systemic approach ensures holistic organisation of environmental education including all its components - aims, content, methods, tools, as well as forms of various activities.

There now exist three most common and widely recognised modes of environmental education in schools:

  1. The multi-subject mode implies profound environment-related alteration of the traditional school subjects both in the natural science sphere and in the humanities.
  2. The single subject mode implies that ecology is studied as an independent subject.
  3. The mixed mode is now considered to be most promising.

In accordance with these three modes of environmental education, the paper tells about the requirements to the skills and knowledge of the pupils, and approaches to teaching methods. The teaching method regarded as the most promising one is the nature trail method.

The idea of nature trails is plain and obvious - allowing passage along a strictly designated route established in a natural or semi-natural landscape. This method reduces the pressure on the environment from mass visitation to a minimum, while helping people see many things in the natural environment. Each trail is different owing to unique landscapes and creativity of those who organise these nature "museums", which sometimes turn into "theatres" where one can observe "scenes" from the normally hidden life of nature.

The technique for making nature trails and sample descriptions of existing trails created in the Paanajarvi National Park by experts and students from the Karelian State Pedagogical University together with schoolchildren are provided.

Experts: E. Nemkovich, Yu. Saveliev, T. Hilkov

Project Results 

Last modified on June 10, 2004