“Unknown Krka: hidden treasures of the middle and upper course of the Krka River”

The project was co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund

The content of the publication / broadcast material is the sole responsibility of the Public Institution "Krka National Park".
Project name: “Unknown Krka: hidden treasures of the middle and upper course of the Krka River”
Project code: K.K.06.1.2.01.0003
Project total value: 80.057.649,15 HRK
Co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund: 66.200.193,06 HRK  

Person in charge of communication: Ivona Cvitan

E-mail: ivona.cvitan@npk.hr

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND ACTIVITIES

Krka National Park can be toured via the five official entrances, though visitation is primarily focused on the southern parts of the park, especially Skradinski Buk and the Lozovac and Skradin entrances. The remainder of the park is less well known or accessible (Manojlovački Slap, Brljan Lake, Burnum archaeological site, Krka Monastery and other individual sights) and there is little to no organised visitor reception at these sites, weakening the optimal tourism product.

Krka National Park faces saturation of its southern section, which largely jeopardises the environment and quality of the experience. This project includes a broadly encompassing plan of infrastructure investments in tourism, visitor and educational content, intended to give tourism significance to the middle and upper course of the Krka River, and to relieve the burden on the most visited sights in the southern part of the park.

Project implementation will complete the construction and refurbishment of the former military complex at Puljani into the Krka Eco-Campus visitor centre, and the construction of the nature interpretation centre “Krka – Spring of Life” at Kistanje. In addition to the construction and infrastructure works, and equipping each centre with content, the project also envisages the development of several walking trails and the procurement of two electric passenger boats, which will further contribute to opportunities to tour the middle and northern parts of the park.

The exceptionally attractive visitor content at the Krka Eco-Campus and the Nature interpretation centre “Krka – Spring of Life”, with an active marketing campaign, has the potential to create a recognisable brand that surpasses the national borders. Insufficient evaluation of the natural heritage resources in this part of the national park will finally receive their tourism function, and together with this visitor content, will contribute to achieving the goals of the project and the invitation.

The aim of the project is, in part, directed towards improving the socioeconomic situation in the underdeveloped inland regions of Dalmatinska Zagora (inland of Šibenik-Knin Count and part of Zadar County). This region is characterised by numerous structural, economic and demographic issues, and an impoverished natural basis. The population is primarily engaged in subsistence agriculture that secures a meagre income. Though this region is aesthetically and ambiently conserved, the population to date has not succeeded in taking advantage of the strong tourism resources of the national park. However, certain progress has been noted, as seen in the official tourism statistics. This project envisages the development of the middle and northern parts of Krka National Park, which will increase the number of visitors and generate indirect economic effects. If the population is to recognise and take advantage of these effects, it will be possible to significantly improve their socioeconomic status. The project will influence new indirect employment and result in a more favourable economic situation in the project impact area. Increasing the number of visitors to these areas will also directly increase the number of overnight stays, the number of tourism packages and the increased consumption of hospitality and trade services. In order for these potential effects to be successfully used, workshops and education will be organisms within the project that will be specifically tailored to the target groups.

PROJECT ELEMENTS:

 

ELEMENT 1: Construction and equipping of the Krka Eco-Campus visitor centre, Puljane


1.1. Reconstruction, internal equipping and collection of the Natural History presentation centre “Temple of Nature”.

Adapted and equipped building of the Natural History presentation centre, called the “Temple of Nature” (BUILDING 4), with a total area of 422.0 m2 usable space, which is fully accessible to the disabled. Following adaptation and reconstruction, the building of the future Natural history collection in Puljani will receive a series of collection elements and designer solutions that will use contemporary technologies and design solutions to interpret the flora and fauna, and all other geological, biological and chemical properties of the protected areas of the Krka. The collection will be maximally interactive. Visitors will find themselves in the role of the explorer, discovering the collection while playing a role and participating in launching the content contained within. Interaction between the visitor and the collection is introduced as an exceptionally important component due to its educational dimension.

1.2. Internal equipping of the educational centre for primary school children “Nature Laboratory”

The education centre for primary school children “Nature Laboratory” will be constructed and equipped, and will have a series of five thematic sections covering general topics of natural history (1. Geology; 2. History; 3. Flora and fauna; 4. Choose a profession; 5. Ecology) in two functional units. The first unit is a covered area with a surface area of 277.55 m² (BUILDING 5) which will be used for interactive workshops with groups and using innovative methods and multimedia technology. This will enable the execution of diverse educational, creative and popular science programmes for the general public, particularly for preschool and primary school groups. The second functional unit implies the use of the external area, with a surface area of 730.0 m² (BUILDING 10) which will be used as an outdoor school, i.e., as an outdoor educational space consisting of a grandstand for schoolchildren that is covered with a wooden pergola, and a lecture plateau with a projection screen.

1.3. Volunteer and research centre with hostel type accommodation facilities, and a laboratory for researchers

The building of the future Volunteer Centre with laboratory and hostel type accommodation for 38 persons will be fully adapted and equipped with furnishings and laboratory equipment. The volunteer centre is a former military barracks which will be expanded and refurbished into a multi-purpose, modern building with a surface area of 921.76 m2 with a science and archaeology laboratory in the basement, and hostel-type accommodation with common room, with standard rooms and disabled-access rooms on the 1st floor, and rooms with a washroom on the 2nd floor.

1.4. Auxiliary structure next to the Volunteer Centre (furnace room and washroom with disabled access)

Constructed ground-floor structure with a total net surface area of 21.58 m2 that serves as an auxiliary building to the Volunteer Centre and which houses the furnace room, men’s and women’s restrooms, and disabled-access washroom for visitors.

1.5. Internal equipping of the Dining room and internet centre

Internal equipping and wiring of the building that houses the dining room and internet centre, with a gross surface area of 301.92 m2, will become an area for relaxed socialising for visitors and the expert staff of the Krka Eco-Campus. The dining room will also be used for organised groups staying at the visitor centre, and as a refreshment area (without food preparation) for other groups and individual visitors to the campus.

1.6. Water supply network, hydrant network, parking runoff drainage, sewer system

The sewage system at the Eco-Campus complex will drain all faecal waters to the main wastewater treatment plant that has already been constructed and financed by the Public Institute of Krka National Park, and which does not seek co-financing in this project. For fire protection purposes, an internal and external hydrant network with a total of 12 aboveground hydrants is envisaged, and will have a separate water line. Potable water will be brought to individual buildings within the centre. A manhole is envisaged in front of every building in the centre as the branching site from the main water line for the purposes of that particular building. For the telecommunications system, two pipes will be laid alongside the remaining installations.

1.7. Landscaping and horticultural design

The concept of the overall landscape and architectural design of the campus will enable circular walking circulation and connections with the main presentation and information elements in the Eco-Campus area. Next to the existing parking lot, the multifunctional “Welcome Plateau” will be created with pavilions and trails connecting it with the thematic children’s playgrounds and Nature Laboratory. The envisaged works and procurement of equipment for the landscaping include the creation of the thematic children’s playground, construction of the network of pedestrian passages and rest areas, construction of stairs, supporting and fencing stone walls – drystone walls, and the stone viewer and rest lanes, and positioning of the new park equipment, interactive play areas, information and educational panels, and wells and bird watering areas. Horticulture will include primarily native Mediterranean and Sub-Mediterranean low and medium height trees, shrubs and ground cover, while preserving the existing ambiance and aesthetic quality of the native trees and plants already in place.

 

ELEMENT 2: Reconstruction and equipping the Nature Interpretation Centre “Krka – Spring of life” in Kistanje


The future complex of the Nature Interpretation Centre, according to the architectural design, will arise from the connection of three two-story buildings during the reconstruction project. The buildings are connected into one thematic unit composed of several mutually connected and dependent interpretation sections. The premises of the Nature Interpretation Centre will be housed in buildings 1, 2 and 3 of the complex. The office part of the centre is on the upper floor of building 3, while the exhibition and presentation sections are in the remainder of the complex, i.e., on the ground floor of building 3 and the complete premises of buildings 1 and 2, including the connecting annexes. The future art collection of the designed interpretation sections will surround the story of water as the fundamental theme, and the Krka River, which as a microlocality has served as an example of strength, the use and importance of water for life. The space is divided into six sections, each of which interprets the theme of water in its own way, through interactive elements and educational bases. The centre will be equipped with contemporary museography and multimedia solutions to interpret the topics of water, flora, fauna, and other educationally related topics.

 

ELEMENT 3: Repairs to and equipping of three walking trails


3.1. The walking trail “Brljan - Manojlovački Slap” runs along the left bank of the Krka River, from the main road via Brljan Lake to the Manojlovački Slap waterfall. It requires repairs with the filling in and levelling of the gravel surface on a compacted rock layer. Also, a new section of the trail must be built so as to connect the existing sections into a whole. At sites with an interesting landscape, benches and waste baskets will be installed.

3.2. The historical trail “Roman trail” connects the existing viewpoint over Manojlovački Slap with the waterfall itself and the mills around it, and connects it with the trail towards Brljan Lake. In parts, it is cobblestone that is in devastated condition and requires complete restoration to as near the original form as possible, while part is built as stone stairs which are also damaged. In certain areas, the path is not formed and the terrain must be cleared to form a new path that is safe for visitors. Most of the trail is overgrown with low-lying vegetation and trees and is not easily passable, while a part of the supporting walls and drystone walls have been damaged (or destroyed), and require restoration by building new walls with the same materials.

3.3. Repairs to the walking trail “Perice – to the Krka River (left bank)” includes cleaning the existing trail from low-lying vegetation, levelling, filling and compacting the trail with a combination of rock and earthen materials, repairs to damaged drystone walls and supporting walls, installation of wooden fencing in areas and installation of wooden benches and tables.

 

ELEMENT 4: Electrification of boat transport on the route Stinice-Visovac-Remetić


This activity implies the procurement of two new passenger boats with a capacity of 60 passengers and 2 crew members for the needs of transporting national park visitors on the route Stinice - Visovac – Remetić or Roški slap- Krka Monastery based on a daily sailing schedule system.

  1. 1. Two electric boats of the specified dimensions (hull length 15 metres, width to 5 metres, draft to 1 metre) were procured, with a total capacity of 96 passengers, 4 wheelchair spots, and 4 crew members. These boats will run primarily in the seasonal period from 1 April to 31 October on the routes Stinice - Visovac – Remetić, and Roški slap – Krka Monastery.
  2. 2. The appropriate attestations, declarations, and technical documentation in the design phase (stability calculations, power, batteries, solar and other devices that make up the boat equipment). Classification documentation with the Croatian Register of Shipping.
  3. 3. Instructions for the use and confirmation of entry of the boats into the register, Certificate of the seaworthiness of the vessel (CRS).

 

ELEMENT 5: Improvement of the content and visitor management system, and cooperation with the local community


This element of the project envisages a systematic approach to improving the overall management system for visitation, infrastructure and content, security elements and generally building the capacities of park staff and developing future cooperation with the local community. A comprehensive evaluation of the existing visitor management system is planned, in line with the recommendations of the MZOIP and guidelines of HAOP. In accordance with the recommendations and findings of the reception capacity analysis and evaluation of the existing situation and findings of the security report, a Visitor management study will be drafted, and will take into account the Transport distribution study which is currently under preparation.

5.1 Drafting planning documents with the aim of future optimal development

The drafted and adopted planning documents will enable future sustainable development. An evaluation of the current situation was carried out, with an analysis of the reception capacities, distribution study design, security report and finally the Visitor management study, which takes into account all the prepared documents, their findings and recommendations. A total of 6 staff were educated on best global practices in protected area management.

5.2. Conception of a pilot and implementation of thematic educational programmes and cooperation with the scientific community

A total of four volunteer programmes were conceived and implemented with a total of 60 volunteers; programmes, schedule and working materials developed for the nature school programme “Returning kids to nature”, a pilot held with 20 attendees and assessed; 2 round table sessions held with representatives of the scientific research community and students on the topic of creating research projects, with more than 60 participants; creation of the audio guides in four languages for the guided tours on vessels. Drafting of the three-year plan for the implementation of educational programme.

5.3. Raising the capacity of Krka National Park staff for the development of products, provision of services and increasing visitor safety

The Handbook on thematic programmes, content, services and products as educational and informative material; more than 150 existing and new park staff informed of the overall offer and content in the park, more than 30 park staff and agency staff certified for programme implementation and guided tours, more than 30 supervisors and other stakeholders trained through three workshops on the provision of first aid, water rescue, and basic search and rescue techniques; procurement of a set of equipment of ropes and tools for staff for rescue and reaction activities in inaccessible or difficult to access natural areas.

5.4. Strengthening cooperation with the local community

A study was developed to define the action plan of implementing cooperation activities with the local population; three one-day info days were held with the aim of recognising potential business opportunities and launching business based on the market potential of the park; at least 10 persons took advantage of the free expert assistance to apply for one of the PRR measures; at least 60 persons were educated on the means of making, trends, design and packaging of souvenirs and traditional products for the market through a series of four workshops.

 

ELEMENT V: Promotion and visibility


V.1. Developing the marketing strategy/ marketing plan

Clearly defined determinants and marketing plan to give the new, integral tourism offer with all the existing and new tourism products and services a recognisable brand, with a recognisable and attractive logo, slogan, clear promotional standards, visual identity and design for all promotional tools and media.

V.2. Prepare and carry out promotional materials

Attractive and stimulating promotional materials were developed to animate more than 300 stakeholders to directly or indirectly take part in the project, with: 3 promotional self-standing stands, 5000 promotional flyers about the project, 100,000 tourism promotional flyers about the new integral tourism offer with maps and available in five languages, 50,000 promotional brochures with descriptions of all the interesting localities in the northern part of Krka National Park, 200 posters, 3 audio-visual presentations, 500 promotional folders and 500 notepads for education and conferences, a promotional film in HDMI format in short (3 min) and long (5 min) format, with presentation elements of the integrated tourism products, including events such as the Burnum Ides, thematic content of the Puljani visitor centre, diversity and the wealth of cultural and natural heritage in the area, published on the park website, partners, tourism agencies and the community and presented and disseminated among the local population as a “trigger” to stimulate cooperation and recognise the potential of working together with the national park.

V.3. Prepare and organise promotional events

Organise promotional events and include the public and media: kick-off conference with 60 participants and media representatives, public round table on sustainable tourism development in the region and the use of EU funds and other sources of development financing with 40 representatives of local stakeholders, three formal openings organised for the public and the media, three one-day presentations and tours of the newly constructed sites for 180 representatives of tour operators and the media, and presentation of the overall offer of products and services at the locations and in the local communities, including new souvenirs produced in local workshops, three international promotional events with 150 participants at Puljani with the aim of creating visibility of the location and project (retreat conferences for innovations and sustainable tourism, innovations and local development, innovation in education, cultural-artistic and professional meetings), one-day final conference for 100 local, regional, national and international participants to present the project results and the action plan for follow-up activities, perspective, opportunities and measures for further development.

V.4. Prepare and conduct a media campaign

Media campaign carried out, as follows: five media pieces on local, regional and national TV and radio, at least one on TV and four local radio stations and specialised shows (Radio Drniš, Radio Krka, Radio Knin, Radio Šibenik, Radio Dalmacija), five published articles and sponsored pieces in the national daily newspapers, 50 pages added to the national park website with links to partner websites, with regular monitoring of events on the sites of partners and cooperating institutions, launching a profile on social media with regular updating of content. Special website reserved for presenting the integrated tourism offer will be created with links to the home pages of partners. Visitor pages will provide all relevant information with geo-referenced locations on maps showing all content offered, contacts, agency services, promotional films, key natural and cultural sights, exhibits and the associated stories and legends. Valuable information will also be provided on the offer of local products, accommodation, hospitality and other content throughout the area.

V.5. Establish information and promotion points

The offer of the northern part of Krka National Park and inland areas will be promoting at key localities with dense traffic to redirect guests, instalment of at least three information and sales points in key tourist centres including the fortress of St. Michael and at the main entrances to Krka National Park, with presentations on touch screen monitors and sets of promotional materials.

 

ELEMENT PM: Project management and administration


Effective project management is necessary not only for the execution of the set infrastructure outputs, but also to establish sustainable and effective stimulation of the public interest and inclusion of relevant stakeholders in the project. All key stakeholders in the project will be actively involved during project implementation in the consultation process, which aims particularly to improve the active participation and inclusion of the weakest stakeholders in key processes for the purpose of systematically building new operational capacities.

PM.1. Established and functional expert project working team, list of members, record with decisions on appointments. 

TEAM MEMBERS

  1. Project leader: Nella Slavica
  2. Public procurement procedure coordinator: Kristiana Jerkov
  3. Conservation coordinator: Gordana Goreta
  4. Product development and marketing coordinator: Ivona Cvitan
  5. Technical services coordinator: Joško Baljkas
  6. Accounting and finance coordinator: Vesna Bulat Škarica
  7. Administrative assistant: Barbara Ćaleta
  8. Tourism development and promotion associate: Željana Šikić

PM.2. Established communications procedures, internal control and evaluation procedures, the required external experts hired to support implementation, audit and evaluation.

PM.3. Established project expert advisory board with up to 10 representatives of partners and key stakeholders, list of members, record on decisions on appointment of representatives. 

PM.4. Expert board meets regularly at least once quarterly until the end of the project, signature sheets, meeting minutes. Signed agreement on cooperation between project partners and other key stakeholders on the project by the end of the 3rd month of implementation. Hold at least 6 working meetings of the expanded board (round tables).

PM.5. Hold an introductory public project presentation (kick-off meeting) to officially launch the project and introduce the relevant stakeholders and the media with 60 – 70 participants by the end of the 2nd month of implementation. Hold the final formal conference for 100 participants.

PM.6. Regular reporting accompanied by the auditor’s report / appropriate cost controls, reports approved by the Contracting body, right up until the Final report.

PROJECT PARTNERS

The County Tourist Board participates in the promotion of the tourism destination at the county level, independently and via joint marketing; manages the public tourism infrastructure entrusted to it by the county; participates in defining the tourism development goals and policies at the county level with regard to policy planning for tourism development at the national level; participates in drafting the tourist development strategy at the county level; promotes the tourism offer of the county in Croatia and abroad in coordination with the Croatian National Tourist Board; enriches the overall tourism offer of the county and creates new tourism region projects, particularly in selective forms of tourism (rural, cultural, health tourism, etc.); provides expert and other assistant to local tourist boards within the county on issues important to their activity and development, and stimulates and assists the development of tourism in areas that are not developed for tourism; coordinates the activity and oversees the execution of goals and tasks of local tourist boards in the county; participates in drafting tourism development plans and strategic marketing plans for Croatian tourism; adopts the strategic marketing plan for the county in accordance with the national strategic marketing plan; encourages the preservation, improvement and promotion of all existing tourism resources and potentials and the tourism offer of the county; collects weekly and monthly data on tourism traffic and all other data important for monitoring the execution of set goals and tasks (joint reports of towns and municipalities); publishes informative tasks concerning the tourism offer; develops semi-annual and annual reports; analyses and assesses the achievement of work programmes and the financial plan of the county tourist board; compiles joint development projects of local tourism boards and other tourism boards of significance to the county. The County Tourist Board also participates and implements programmes and campaigns of the Croatian National Tourist Board that is of shared interest for all entities in tourism and raising the quality of the tourism offer of Croatia. The Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board cooperates with regional tourism organisms from other countries, and can significantly contribute to the overall marketing activities planned within this project.

The role of the County Tourist Board is most pronounced through the project elements: Improving the visitor and content management system, and Marketing, promotion and visibility. The board director, as a member of the project team, and also as a person with strong project experience will contribute to the implementation of planned activities, and facilitate cooperation on the project, with direct implementation of a series of prepared, logistical and expert consultation activities.

The participation of the County Tourist Board as a project partner will ensure expert support for the implementation of strategic planning, cooperation activities and motivating the local population and other tourism factors to participate, and will ensure the implementation of activities to promote the newly created offer and content, which is exceptionally important for achieving the goals of this project. The tourist board representative will be an integral part of the project advisory board and a member of the project team. The inclusion of the Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board will ensure the integration of project results in the overall tourism offer of the County, which is very important as the purpose of the activities of the national park is to stimulate sustainable development and the development of the tourism offer throughout the county.

The director of the Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board, Željana Šikić, B.Econ., strengthens the project team on behalf of the partner institution, and with her many years of expert experience in tourism, and will complement the expert capacities of the entire project team in implementing the planned activities.