Bulgarian Pirin National Park Director Quits over Foul Play

Environment | October 5, 2010, Tuesday // 19:41|  views

Banski Suhodol (2884m), Kutelo (2908m) and Vihren (2914m) just above Bansko. Photo by joro82.hit.bg

The director of the Pirin National Park in Bulgaria resigned and was dismissed from the Ministry of Environment over concerns that he is in a strong conflict of interests and thus unfit to manage the protection of the park.

According to information of daily Dnevnik and environmentalists, the family of dismissed Pirin director Georgi Grancharov has drafted a loan from First Investment Bank to build a hotel in Bansko. FIBank on the other hand is creditor to controversial company Yulen that operates ski facilities in Bansko on the Pirin mountains slopes - which has turned in Bulgaria's top ski resort in recent years.

The hotel has been sold to Yulen. According to research by Dnevnik during last winter season it offered packages including drives to Yulen ski facilities.

Yulen has been having persistent problems with eco-organizations and the Ministry of Environment over allegedly encroaching on National Park territory that it is not allowed to develop.

Over the years, Grancharov has initiated proposals for granting new territories from Pirin National Park for development.

Bulgarian environmental organizations have greeted his dismissal with acclaim.

The Pirin mountains host some of Bulgaria's most dramatic scenery and are home to many protected species. They are a UNESCO World Heritage site.


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Tags: Pirin, Pirin National Park, Yulen, Bansko, environmentalists, Ministry of Environment, ski


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