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Adaptation of nature tourism for all

A new town leisure park in Kretinga, i.e. Jaurykla Park, is a path of wooden planks in Kirkilai nature reserve in Biržai Regional Park, 4 pontoon bridges with paths and rest areas in Aukštaitija National Park and a spacious reconstructed observation deck on the bank of Plateliai lake, Žemaitija National Park: all this has been created in implementation of the project “Adaptation of Nature Tourism for All” which lasted for 2.5 years and was implemented in cooperation with 7 partners in latvia and 4 partners in Lithuania.

Recently, Jaurykla River Park in which visitors of any age may enjoy new more than 3 km length health and educational paths through the park and a lot of resting areas and observation decks from which beautiful views open was opened. There is a lot of playgrounds, swings and climbing facilities for children which are perfect for active weekend rest in the park. Jaurykla River Park is also accessible to parents with baby strollers, older people and people with limited mobility using the developed infrastructure; everyone has a possibility to have fun and enjoy time. Due to slightly steep slopes in some sections of the paths it is recommended for people in a wheelchair to visit the park with an accompanying person.

The path in Kirkilai nature reserve is about 1 km length and suggests to see the lake Kirkilai and unusual landscape of the location which is affected by karstic processes.

There are 4 piers in the most popular places of Aukštaitija National Park, i.e. Palūšė, Meironys, Vaišniūnai camp sites and near Ladakalnis archeological complex. The piers may also be accessed by visitors with disabilities: access roads of universal design (without thresholds) to arbors and piers are arranged. In fact, due to natural conditions and particularly mountainous terrain, an assistance may be necessary in some places.

A wonderful landscape and perfect view to the lake Plateliai which is the largest lake in Samogitia and is included in the network of protected areas Natura 2000 open from the observation deck in Žemaitija National Park. You can see two unique islands of the lake recognised as the natural heritage objects, i.e. Castle (Pilies) island and Calves (Veršių) castle. There is an information stand allowing to reach the lake and the islands in the lake in the observation deck. The observation deck is also adapted to visually and physically handicapped people.

Upon implementation of the project, a lot of paths and other objects of nature, namely, a new Usma Elkrags nature path, walking paths along the river Venta in Skrunda and Kuldiga, path of wooden planks in Roja beach and two new observation towers on the bank of the lake Durbė and Sātiņi were arranged in Latvia. Besides, the Guidebook on Nature Trails was published.

The published Guidebook on Nature Trails should be mentioned as one of the most significant results of the project “UniGreen”; it presents more than 80 routes on nature trails in Kurzeme and Northern Lithuania, it may be received in all tourism information centres of Kurzeme and Northern Lithuania and is available online

Project No LLI-010 “Introducing Nature Tourism for All (UniGreen)“ was implemented during the period of 2014–2020 by the funds of the Interreg V-A Latvia–Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme. The total financing of the project amounts to EUR 176,867.14 including funding of the European Regional Development Fund in the amount of EUR 1,000,337.07. The project was implemented by Kurzeme Planning Region as the lead partner in cooperation with six municipalities of Kurzeme Region (Durbe Municipality, Kuldīga Municipality, Roja Municipality, Saldus Municipality, Skrunda Municipality and Ventspils Municipality), one municipality of Lithuania (Kretinga District Municipality Administration) and three national and regional parks of Lithuania (Directorate of Aukštaitija National Park and Labanoras Regional Park, Directorate of Biržai Regional Park and Directorate of Žemaitija National Park).

The partners of the project are greatful to everyone involved in implementation of the project, i.e. tourism information centres, guides, NGOs representing disabled people and all contractors of the project.