The Greek government is reportedly examining the possibility of introducing a fee for admission to Mount Olympus National Park, where Greece’s tallest mountain is located.
The news was revealed through a leaked document according to which the environment and finance ministries are looking to impose a 6-euro entrance ticket for visitation, education, research, climbing, trekking, hiking or recreational hunting, a 12-euro admission fee for cars, a 10-euro fee for motorcycles, and a 70-euro fee for trailers or campers. The same document, published on climbing and trekking news site Anevenontas.gr, also foresees granting the management rights to private entities.
The news sparked reactions from dozens of environmental and recreation groups and clubs across the social media prompting the country’s Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) to release a statement clarifying that the idea was “currently up discussion” between NECCA, the park’s managing agency and local bodies and in “no case constitutes a final draft decision”, which will be made by the relevant ministries.
The groups claim the draft decision fails to take into account a series of serious issues including seasonality, protection and prevention, fair pricing for families, climbing groups, schools, etc, and does not state clearly where revenues would be directed.
NECCA goes on to add in its statement that it will continue to propose and support actions and projects for the protection and promotion of Greece’s natural sites such as securing funding to prepare a file for the inclusion of Mt Olympus and the wider area on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.
Citing the example of the Samaria Gorge National Park on Crete where a ticket was introduced 30 years ago, NECCA justifies its proposal for an admission fee to protected areas, which it says supports local communities, is international best practice and “a useful tool for the protection and effective management of our unique ecosystems”.
Home to a wealth of flora and fauna and a unique eco-system, Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods in mythology, is visited annually by more than 160,000 people and serves as a training ground for thousands of climbers and other sports groups.