Pirin National Park illegal ski resort, Bulgaria


Since 1983 Pirin National Park (NP) is a mountain territory under the highest nature protection standards according to Bulgarian law. The NP is rich in unique natural resources including 120-year-old pine woods. Since 2000 a local development plan (DP) for the town of Bankso - a gateway to the Pirin NP includes huge expansion of the existing ski zone (ski runs and infrastructure).

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Basic Data
NamePirin National Park illegal ski resort, Bulgaria
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Tourism Recreation
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Agro-toxics
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Logging and non timber extraction
Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Chemical industries
Specific CommoditiesPine
Tourism services
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)165
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date2001
Company Names or State EnterprisesULEN AD from Bulgaria
Relevant government actorsMinistery of Environment, Pirin National Park, Municipality of Bansko
International and Financial InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFor the Nature NGOs coalition
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Negotiated alternative solution
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesFor the Nature calls for the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to stop all building activity within protected territories, to terminate the concession contract with Ulen AD, to take possession of the illegally developed land, and also to seek compensation for the illegal use of territories as well as to recultivate the illegally developed Pirin National Park territories, which are part of the Natura 2000 ecological network and UNESCOs world heritage.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the government admitted that UlenAD had unlawfully grabbed, used and destroyed state property in a National Park, there is no plan to start legal action against the company. Moreover the Government is proposing to change the concession law in order to solve the problem, and for not causing trouble to the investor.
Sources and Materials

Pirin National Park Management Plan (NPDP)
[click to view]

Council Directive 92/43/EEC, establishing the Natura2000 Network
[click to view]


Za Zemiata
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorDragomira Raeva
Last update08/04/2014