The opening of a Triglav National Park(TNP) information centre in Stara Fuzina has been heralded as a crucial step forward in relations between the troubled park authority and the very area which it is tasked to oversee. It is ironic in the extreme that whilst the modern, eco-friendly edifice is a welcome edition for locals and tourists alike, its rather ‘out of the way’ situation has been brought about by the TNP’s own restrictions that broadly outlaw even sympathetic construction projects within the national park’s central core, the very place the information centre should have been built.

Restrictions, whilst not lax in Stara Fuzina are more relaxed, enabling domestic properties to sit cheek by jowl with tourism accommodation in an environment still heavily dominated by an agrarian economy. Whilst the new build does afford visitors and staff views – if somewhat distant – of Lake Bohinj, such a facility would be better served in the Bohinj lakeside village of Ribcev Laz, or, at the gateway to the national park in Bohinjska Bistrica. Both, especially the former, are comparative tourism epicenters compared to Stara Fuzina. Notwithstanding its geographically compromised position the centre does though provides a wealth of information on contemporary and historic Bohinj, its geological formation and perhaps the influence Agatha Christie(through her stay at the now ailing Hotel Bellevue) and Second World War Nazi occupation had on the area. Known as one of the European Union’s more enthusiastic members, Slovenia are once more thankful of funding from the EU’s Regional Development Fund which bankrolled the vast majority of construction and ancillary costs associated with the project, although an honourable mention should be reserved for the country’s oft-maligned central government who chipped in with funding through its Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.

The TNP’s management acknowledge the strained relationship it has at times had with Bohinj’s Municipality and tourism chiefs; the new TNP-backed information centre could therefore be seen as a concessionary sop to mollify the justified dissent from many Bohinjci over the stifling limitations imposed upon their everyday lives by the governing body, the seemingly straightforward task of returning storm-damaged properties to their original condition has itself become a protracted, bureaucratic nightmare. Bohinj is though the jewel in the TNP’s crown and despite the geographic shortcomings of the centre, it is at least a positive move by the national park authority that demonstrates the importance of the Bohinj region to Gorenjska and in the wider context, a place it occupies within the national psyche not dissimilar to the feeling many Britons have for the English Lake District. It should though be stressed that any constructive intervention or initiatives by the Triglav National Park authority in the Bohinj region have been long overdue and therefore fails to complement or build upon any good will it has engendered in the area, of which there is very little. It does though have to start somewhere.

Opening daily during the summer months, the information centre can be accessed between 8 am and midday, and from 5 – 8 pm. Whether its presence will prove to be a beli slon or the initiation of improved relations between the Triglav National Park and Bohinj’s stakeholders only time will tell although, the time for words rather than meaningful deeds has now long since passed.

Further reading on this issue can be viewed at:

Gorenjski Glas: Triglav National Park open Bohinj-based info centre