Antonios Barnias is the project coordinator for the Management Body of the Samaria National Park in Greece. Naomi Racz from Eurosite caught up with Antonios to find out more about his role and the Management Body’s current projects.
Can you tell me about some of the nature management issues that you face at Samaria and what you are doing to tackle them?
The National Park of Samaria is an area involving several variables, some of them in relative contrast to each other, but all of them need to co-exist and be sustainable. Take, for example, all the issues arising from visitor management. There are 150,000 visitors per year to the park’s Core Zone – the Gorge of Samaria – alone. At the same time these issues need to be brought into harmony with environmental protection and management, especially in environmentally sensitive areas. Also, the entire park, besides the Core Zone, which is well defined and regulated, is home to medium to large local communities, carrying out economic activities. This means that environmental preservation issues and local and traditional activities must be balanced. How all of these interactive, parallel or sometimes contrary variables come together and form a stable “structure” is a matter that we take very seriously and try to harmonise with intense field presence, constant awareness raising, elaboration of studies aimed at locating solutions to specific problems, and constant training of the staff.
Photo: Antonios Barnias (far left) with volunteers © Samaria National Park
Featured photo: © Romeo Belarmino