Already 47 Environmentally and Family Friendly Mountain Huts in Slovenia
Author: Manca Čujež
Slovenian alpine clubs manage 179 mountain huts, shelters and bivouacs, of which 164 are staffed. As an incentive to lower harmful impact on mountain nature and to attract families to visit, the Alpine Association of Slovenia has followed the example of the mountaineering associations of Germany, Austria and South Tyrol, and introduced the Environment-Friendly Mountain Hut and Family-Friendly Mountain Hut certificates, which have already been awarded to a total of 47 Slovenian huts; some received them recently at the Mountain Hut Economy Conference held on 4 February 2017. There are 25 environment-friendly and 41 family-friendly mountain huts, with 21 huts holding both certificates.
The main goal of the project Environment-Friendly Mountain Hut is to ensure an environmentally friendly and energy efficient operation of the huts. To obtain such certificate, mountain huts need to demonstrate and commit to a careful and holistic approach to managing the sensitive mountain environment. Since the majority of the Slovenian mountain huts is located in uninhabited, sensitive natural environment, in 2010 the Alpine Association introduced a special certificate for huts whose overall operation brings little negative impact on the environment, with added benefit that that well-managed huts compliant with higher environmental standards will also attract more visitors. This certificate testifies that the local alpine club, hut’s housekeeper, or manager, strives to minimize the disturbing effects of the hut’s operation on the unspoiled natural environment.
Already 47 Environmentally and Family Friendly Mountain Huts in Slovenia (photo by Manca Čujež)
A year later, PZS became preoccupied with the question of how to encourage children and parents to visit mountain huts. The certificate Family-Friendly Mountain Hut testifies that the staff will try their best to ensure that the stay at the hut is a pleasant and memorable experience for the youngest mountain hikers and their parents. Features which are evaluated in order to obtain the certificate are: the readiness of the mountain hut staff to offer families with young children all required attention and understanding for their specific needs; mountain hut furniture and interior are adapted for children (children stools, bench steps, guards, kids’ corner with toys, etc.), and kitchen serves child portions; location of the hut allows for a relatively easy access for families; adequately maintained mountain trails and parking lots at the starting point; the surroundings of the hut are suitable for uninterrupted activity of children and families; sightseeing features around the hut are also interesting for children; and, if possible, the hut implements their own programme for families.
Slovenska planinska društva upravljajo 179 planinskih koč, zavetišč in bivakov, od tega 164 oskrbovanih planinskih koč. Za spodbudo k manjši okoljski obremenitvi gorskega sveta ter privabljanju otrok in staršev na koče Planinska zveza Slovenije po vzoru planiskih zvez Nemčije, Avstrije in Južne Tirolske podeljuje certifikata okolju in družinam prijazna planinska koča, ki ju je skupno prejelo že 47 slovenskih koč, zadnje na konferenci o planinskem gospodarstvu 4. februarja 2017. Okolju prijaznih je 25 in družinam prijaznih 41 planinskih koč, oba certifikata je pridobilo 21 planinskih koč.