Environmental bicycle campaign along the Baltic Sea coast in Germany and Poland – Days 5-6-7

Day 5: Precious coastal habitats in a former military area

The last fihery boats...This day was dedicated to a natural pearlFerry to Penemunde.JPG and conservation achievements at the Green Belt: Peenemünde Hook on the western end of the island of Usedom. But before getting there, we needed to train our patience, because the morning was very much dominated by persistent rain. So we decided to get to Peenemündeby ferry. A sea eagle followed us with his deep clear view while we were approaching the town. Despite of the continuous rain, some tourists awaited the ferry’s arrival next to us.

To Penemunde.JPG
Luckily, the area around Peenemünde, the Peenemünde Hook, was officially and formally declared a nature conservation area within the National Nature Heritage programme about one and a half years ago. We talked about this programme on the first tour day in Rostocker Heide already. This means that the ownership of this land was transferred from the national government level to the federal state level for the purpose of nature conservation – and not sold to private investors for building of tourist accomodation, not agriculture, not industrial development. Also, the German Foundation for the Environment (DBU, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt) took over the financial responsibility for the management measures – another important question in the process. To cut a long story short: The western end of the island of Usedom will remain a core area of the Green Belt for good.

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The challenge to turn previous military area to nature conservation and recreation zone is also very actual to Russian coast of the Gulf of Finland. The German example shows that this process can bring benefit both to nature and to the coastal residents, as far as to the whole country.
Way through tje Penemunde forest.JPGPlan of closed military area.JPGPrevious military zone Penemunde.JPG

camp in Penemunde.JPGBunker o WW II.JPG
Protected sea coast.JPGBund and FoB on Penemunde coast.JPG

Day 6: Dive in - The Baltic Green Belt from below the waterline

The dam - protection from flooding.JPGThe element of the day was water. bathyscaphe.JPG
We experienced it from below, from above and from within. Our destination today was Zinnowitz, one of the main tourist resorts on the island of Usedom. The sandy beaches of the island of Usedom are sometimes mistaken for mediterranean beaches – but only on photographs, and definitely not today. Every year, about a million tourists, mainly from all over Germany, visit the island. About two years ago, a diving cabin was installed at the top of the pier of Zinnowitz. The diving cabin slowly takes the visitors down into the water, they see the water level rise in front of the windows - the so-called duck perspective - and at about five meters depth the cabin stops and the guests see: green. Every once in a while a common jellyfish drifts by, and the children on board jump up screeming. , This location is ideal to talk about the Baltic Sea's problem number 1: eutrophication.

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Lecture on teh BS bottom.JPGAction in Zenovits (2).JPGAction in Zenoivits.JPG Beach in Zenovits.JPG bathyscaphe sinks to the bottom.JPG

Day 7: Nature across borders - the Green Belt is international

Flooding in the town.JPGThis day the bicycle campaign crossed EuroVelo 10.JPGthe German-Polish border between the seaside resorts of Ahlbeck and Swinousze. This area is nowadays a very busy place with numerous tourists crossing back and forth. We soon crossed the Swina river and looking down from the large ferry saw even more intensely green water than in Zinnowitz. The Swina is part of the Odra river delta and connects the Odra lagoon with the Baltic Sea. Huge amounts of nutrients are washed from an area five times as big as the sea itself into the Baltic every year. The Odra river is the fifth largest of the Baltic Sea rivers and carries nutrients mainly from industrial agriculture – fertilisers and manure deposits.

Volynskij national park.JPGAbout eight kilometers eastwards of Swinousze, BS coast in POland.JPGbehind beautiful mixed beech forests and a demanding unpaved, wet bicycle path, we reached Miezdroye and dove directly into a world made up of entertainment attractions, restaurants and cheap souvenirs. The intensity of development here is astonishing, accommodations are popping up everywhere, and tourists are already arriving in large quantities. Behind the extremely busy and noisy promenade area, however, a quiet town stretches out with beautifully restored villas and well-kept parks.

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Last day - Medzyzdroje coast.JPG
 Way back home.jpg

Curonian Spit.JPG

Comments of Russian participants:

The aim of the Baltic Green Belt is uniting all coastal nature areas into the common chain, collaborative program, which will help to find the more effective ways for coastal and marine nature conservation, for the development of environmentally friendly tourism programs. Russian nature protected coastal areas– national park Curonian Spit, and nature reserves of the Gulf of Finland - Kurgalskij, Lebyazhij, Berezovye Ostrova, as far as the newly establishing Ingermanland nature reserve – need such a programs, need more care of state and local governments as it happens in Germany and Poland. And care and support of local population and public organizations already exists.
Bicycle campaign participants go back homes, and will do their best at their native shores for our common Baltic Sea.

P.S. From the plane we have seen the symbolic picture – the Curonian Spit, our last year bicycle campaign trip.
Olga Senova (Friends of the Baltic) and Tatiana Artemova (St.Petersburg Association of environmental journalists)

Yandex citirovania