Organizational Structure and Administration of the Directorate
The administration of the Nature Park was set up in November 1995 by the former Committee of the Forests as Management Board of Strandja National (back then) Park. In 1998, the Management Board was transformed into Directorate – a legal entity directly subordinate to the National Council on Forests in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Bulgaria. Currently, the Directorate of Strandja Nature Park is a specialized territorial unit of the Executive Forest Agency (EFA) to the Ministry of Agriculture and Foods (MAF). The Directorate of the Park coordinates its activity with the Regional Directorate of Forests in Burgas.
The Directorate of Strandja Nature Park (DNP) implements the state policy for management and control of the protected territory with the aim of long-term conservation of its unique nature and ensuring a sustainable socio-economic development of the region. DNP Strandja is also responsible for the two eponymous protected zones in Strandja – the conservation of the wild birds and the natural habitats. The spectre of activities of the Directorate includes actions aimed at conservation and restoration of the biological and landscape diversity; educational, promotional, consulting and advertising activities whose objective is to increase the ecological culture of the local population and the visitors of the Park; construction and maintenance of the infrastructure of the Park to service the tourist and recreational industry; implementation of scientific and applied research activities; creation and maintenance of database for the Park and its adjacent territories. The management function is an important part of the activities of the Park. According to the Rules of procedure (in force since 10.02.2012), DNP supervises the compliance with the Law on Hunting and Game Protection, the Law on the Protected Areas, the Law on Fishing and Aquacultures, the Law on Medicinal Plants, the Law on Biological Diversity, the Law on Waters, the Law on Protection of Agricultural Property, the Law on Protection of the Agricultural Lands and the sublegislative acts of their implementation, as well as other laws and regulations, to which it is authorized by their enforcement body. DNP oversees the compliance with the regimes, norms and conditions laid down by the ordinances declaring the Nature Park as such and the management plans of the Park, the protected zones and protected areas of other categories, which fall within the territorial scope of activities of the Directorate. DNP Strandja also does the following: participates in the monitoring of the restoration, management and protection of the forest territories within the borders of the Nature Park, controls the efforts to preserve the forests, the game and the fish resorces in the water areas used for recreational fishing in the forests within the borders of the Nature Park; coordinates all forestry activities and documents for the area of activity of DNP in accordance with the regulatory documents. The employees at Strandja Nature Park are obliged to exercise specialized control over the territorial range of activities of the Nature Park. In other words, DNP Strandja is the main local specialized public regulatory body, which is authorized to monitor and enforce compliance with the conservation regimes (defined by the declaratory ordinances and management plans (if such are available)), both in relation to the Nature Park and the two eponymous protected zones, as well as with regard to the natural landmarks and protected areas in the Park. According to the Law on Protected Areas and the Rules of procedure, the Director of DNP is obliged to stop certain activities and construction in the forests, lands and water areas of the protected territories made available to use – state, municipal and private property, if these activities are carried out in violation of the already approved management and development plans and technical projects. In the exercise of their monitoring duties, DNP officers perform inspections and issue detailed control reports. In case of identified violations, the DNP officers have to impose sanctions to the infringers.
The Directorate implements various environmental initiatives, encourages local communities to work together and facilitates the expansion of tourist services in the region. Among the success stories are the restoration of the fire-dancing ritual in Bulgari village and the fire-danicing procession to the Great Holy Spring as well as the more than ten editions of the Festival of Rhododendron ponticum, which has become a traditional regional forum for promotion of tourist services on the territory of the Nature Park.
The Directorate employs 10 people.
The headquarters of the Directorate is located in Malko Tarnovo. An office of the Directorate was also opened in Tsarevo in 2003, and it currently employs two experts.
Strandja Nature Park Information Center was opened in Malko Tarnovo in 2007 and in Gramatikovo in 2011. A specialized nursery-garden for rare species and an information center opened doors in Kachul area (on the territory of Gramatikovo village, near Veleka river) in 2012. In accordance with OPE, the opening of an office and Information Center in Ahtopol is forthcoming.
According to the Statute-book on the structure, functions and activity of DNP, the main functions of the Directorate come down to the following:
- Implements the management plan of the Park;
- Monitors the forestry activities, side activities, construction and security on the territory of the park related to the conservation of the biological diversity;
- Oversees the compliance with the regimes, norms and conditions outlined in the ordinances establishing the Nature Park and the management plans of the park, the protected areas and protected territories of other categories, which fall under the territorial scope of activity of the Directorate;
- Participates in the monitoring of the restoration, management and protection of the forest areas within the borders of the Nature Park;
- Participates in the monitoring of the protection of the forest areas, the game and fish resources in the water basins used for recreational fishing in the forest areas within the Nature Park;
- Carries out specialized control within the territorial scope of activity of the Directorate of Strandja Nature Park independently and through forest inspectors;
- Imposes penalties on infringers in the cases stipulated by the Law on Forests;
- Coordinates all forestry activities and documents for the area of activity of DNP in accordance with the regulatory documents;
- Monitors the state of biodiversity in the natural ecosystems, communities and the individual taxa; the state of the populations of protected species, rare, endangered and endemic representatives of the wild flora and fauna as part of the National Monitoring System of Biodiversity; tourist capacity within the borders of the Park; planning and organization of research activities, educational activities, promotional activities, organization of visitors’ and information centers;
- Organizes events focusing on conservation and restoration of the biological and landscape diversity;
- Supports the development of tourism and recreation on the territory of the Park and its surrounding areas;
- Maintains records and database for the territory of the Nature Park;
- Organizes and implements activities focusing on the conservation of the cultural-historical heritage, in cooperation with the local authorities and divisions of the MC.
The functions stipulated in the Rules of procedure are defined for the entire territory of the Park, but the main source of funding comes from the EFA, which presupposes conservation and restoration activities mainly in the forests.
The main source of funding for the activities of DNP is the state budget through EFA/MAF. In recent years, the funding for the activities of DNP is raised through application with projects and programs to regional, national and international donors. DNP has no legal basis to form the revenue from its activities.
According to the status of DNP, all the revenue generated locally by the Directorate – through sale of promotional materials, tourist services, etc. are deposited in bank accounts of EFA.