Pre-conference tours on September 24

 

12.00 and 16.00 – walking excursions in Jūrmala City Centre (architecture, cultural history, beach, etc.). Duration about 2 hours. Free of charge.

You can apply to this tour while filling out the registration form.

 


 

Field trips on September 26

1.1. Restoration of wetlands in Ķemeri National Park

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 1.1. “How much money do we need for effective Natura 2000 management?”

 

Level of difficulty: hard (walking on wet and swampy terrain; no roads and/or walking paths; Wellington boots essential!!!

 

1.2. Kurzeme coast – fishing traditions and the rich cultural heritage of the ancient Liivi tribe

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 1.2. “Sustainable fisheries in Marine Protected Areas: how can we make them possible?” 

Bus tour combined with walking.

Possibility to visit Slītere National Park – coastal Protected Area situated at the meeting point of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga; also referred to as “The Livonian Coast”  During the Soviet Era the territory of Slītere National Park was under strict military supervision with extremely restricted public access as it was the Western border of the Soviet Union and was guarded accordingly. Nowadays it is a place where the proud culture of the ancient Liivi tribe, fishermen traditions, amazing wilderness and increasing tourism all have to live together. A short film about Slītere National park.

Main attractions/experiences:

  • Traditional Liivi performance at the newly opened Liivi Cultural centre in Kolka;
  • Cape Kolka – the meeting point of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga, one of the top birdwatching places in Europe together with a local guide and owner of small tourism business, traditional Livonian homestead “Ūši”;
  • Traditional farmstead in Pitrags – fish smoking and making traditional fences
  • Šlītere Lighthouse and nature trail along the ancient coastline of the Baltic Ice Lake - right into the heart of the reserve zone of Slītere National Park
Level of difficulty: easy; no specific equipment (e.g. rubber boots) needed

 

1.3. Hike along the seacoast in Ķemeri National Park

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 1.3. “How do we increase the training, capacity building and professionalization needs of 21st Century Protected Areas and N2000 site managers?”

A chance to discover the seacoast in Ķemeri National Park. The excursion will be lead by local tourism guide actively involved in providing excursions in Ķemeri National Park as well as by senior state environment inspector of Nature Conservation Agency providing information about habitat management works (fighting invasive species; dune enforcement, etc.) and cooperation projects carried out together with local municipality.

Main attractions/experiences:

  • Walking for ~ 4 hours; ~ 10 km on a sandy surface
  • Museum of Resort History of Jūrmala and former TOP secret object of Latvia – sanatorium “Jantarnij Bereg”
  • Resort rehabilitation centre “Jaunķemeri” – the place still fully following the traditions established over centuries by Ķemeri historical resort
  • Coastal villages
  • Possibility to buy local smoked fish
  • Lapmežciems museum of fishermen’s traditions with restored interactive exhibition
  • Coastal habitat management works (dune enforcement, fighting invasive species (Rosa rugosa) implemented by society involvement
Level of difficulty: medium. Walking will mostly be along a sandy beach; depending on the water level the surface can be soft and/or muddy at times, making movement slower. The weather at end of September can be really windy, so please use warm and waterproof clothing

 

1.4. North Vidzeme Biosphere Reserve coastline

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 1.4. “What new standards are needed for National Parks: perspectives from the Netherlands”

A bus tour combined with walks.

A chance to discover the only biosphere reserve in Latvia and visit its specially protected areas in shoreline. Seaside walk with expert talks on cooperation models, habitat management practices.

Main attractions/experiences:

  • The White Dune in Saulkrasti (case study of nature design object which was made during project LIFE EcosystemServices);
  • Nature reserve “Rocky seashore of Vidzeme” (case study of profit from specially protected area);
  • Nature reserve “Randu meadows” (case study of potential of voluntary work for nature).
Level of difficulty: medium. The seaside walk will be mainly along a rocky beach without any maintained paths; with bumpy and potentially very slippery surface.

 

2.1. Cycling tour in Ķemeri National Park.

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 2.1. “What cost-effective and low-impact models are possible for businesses and protected areas to manage sustainable tourism?”

Cycling tour in Ķemeri National Park together with local environmental guide. A chance to chat with a local guide actively involved in providing guided tours in Ķemeri National Park and one of the main supporters of the process of European Charter for Sustainable Tourism both during the first evaluation in 2012 and re-evaluation in 2017; as well as to visit some of the main attractions of Ķemeri National Park.

Main attractions/experiences:

  • Cycling for ~ 4 hours; ~ 25 km
  • Ķemeri Historical Resort
  • Walking/cycling route “Along the Green Dune”
  • Boardwalk in Raganu (Witches’) Bog to one of the most unique geological objects in the Baltics – ponds of sulphurous mineral water
  • One of the 6 Ramsar Sites in Latvia - Lake Kaņieris; floating trail and birdwatching tower. Watch video from the trail
  • Lapmežciems museum of fishermen’s traditions with restored interactive exhibition
  • Coastal villages
Level of difficulty: medium. Cycling will mostly take place along small (and often bumpy) forest roads and gravel roads; only small part will be asphalt/concrete.

 

2.2. The first Gastronomic region of Latvia in Gauja National Park

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 2.2. “How can nature-based solutions, innovation and traditional knowledge, support biodiversity and farmers’ income in Protected Areas?”

Bus tour combined with walking.

Possibility to visit Gauja National Park – the oldest and biggest National park of Latvia featuring unique geological landscape – the Gauja River Valley with sandstone outcrops, attracting ~ 1 million tourist visits a year. In 2017, the territory was also included into European Region of Gastronomy

Insight into various forms of cooperation among tourism stakeholders involved in food & gastronomy sphere in a Protected Area, also being one of the main tourism destinations in Latvia.

Main attractions/experiences:

 

Level of difficulty: easy; no specific equipment (e.g. rubber boots) needed

 

3.Following the healing bonanza of Ķemeri National Park

Recommended excursion for Workshops

No 3.1. and “Nature on your doorstep – how can parks and protected areas realise their potential for contributing to health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities in our towns and cities?” and Workshop No 3.3. “Nature’s health benefits – how can parks and protected areas make and communicate the case better to our politicians and policy makers?”

A bus tour combined with (relatively) short walks.

A chance to discover the natural healing powers of Ķemeri National Park by learning about the natural curative resources of Ķemeri National Park – medical mud and mineral waters – from the process of their creation deep under the surface of the surrounding raised bogs, to the resort history and contemporary use in restoring human health. Possibility to visit local tourism businesses who work with health topic and are active members of Ķemeri National Park Tourism forum.

Main attractions/experiences:

Level of difficulty: easy; no specific equipment (e.g. rubber boots) needed

 

4.1. Wood craft museum and Gauja river trip in Gauja National Park

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 4.1. “What synergies and unexpected combinations of Nature, Art and Design are possible to benefit protected areas?”

Walking (total distance about 2-3 km) and trip by a wooden raft along River Gauja.

Possibility to visit woodcraft museum in the heart of the oldest and biggest National Park of Latvia – Gauja National Park and learn about their inspirations from nature. Later, a scenic trip by a wooden raft along River Gauja – the most popular spot for water tourism in Latvia; with sandstone outcrops and beautiful scenery together with experts from Nature Conservation Agency. On-site discussions about river management in conditions of high anthropogenic pressure (campsites, waste, cooperation with tourism service providers, illegal fishing, etc.).

Main attractions/experiences:

Level of difficulty: easy. No specific equipment (e.g. rubber boots) needed.

 

4.2. Walk around Sigulda and Turaida – the heart of Gauja National park

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 4.2. “How can protected areas use art to spark imagination, and catalyse the visitors’ interest for nature?”

Walking tour, ~ 5 km 5 hours

Possibility to visit one of the TOP tourist attractions in Latvia – Sigulda and Turaida, both situated in the very heart of the oldest and biggest National park of Latvia featuring unique geological landscape – the Gauja River Valley with sandstone outcrops, attracting ~ 1 million tourist visits a year. Examples of private initiatives in culture and architecture, inspirations of natural heritage in contemporary urban architecture, examples of cooperation, challenges and symbiosis between the surrounding nature and urban environment. Excursion led by local guide actively involved in providing excursions in Gauja National Park, accompanied by experts of Nature Conservation Agency.

Main attractions/experiences:

  • Sigulda town, including:      
Level of difficulty: medium – the route will include several long and steep staircases (the longest ones in Sigulda have over 400 steps

 

5.1. Līgatne – historical village and wild ZOO in Gauja National Park

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 5.1. “How can landscape design mimic nature to create places good for people and biodiversity?”

Walking tour

Possibility to visit Līgatne – historical village of former paper-mill, now turned into one of the best examples of maintaining traditional architecture as well as production and promotion of local products in the very heart of Gauja National Park. Excursion led by a local guide actively involved in providing excursions in Gauja National Park and cooperating with Nature Conservation Agency.

Level of difficulty: medium – the route will include several staircases. No specific equipment (e.g. rubber boots) needed.

 

5.2. Coastal management in peri-urban areas 

Recommended excursion for Workshop No 5.2. “How do we manage green exercise and the increase of outdoor sports in periurban parks?”

Bus tour combined with walking.

Possibility to visit Nature Park “Piejūra” – coastal Protected Area accommodating the biggest part of beach visitors from the capital city Riga and experiencing high anthropogenic pressures, especially during summers. Within a new LIFE project, new nature management plan is currently being worked out for the area, new infrastructure has been built to reduce negative visitor impacts, in the same time providing healthy opportunities to stay active in nature; as well as coastal management works carried out.

Main attractions/experiences:

  • Walk along seaside for ~ 5 km on a sandy surface; examples of coastal management works and new infrastructure built for reducing anthropogenic pressure and providing opportunities for outdoor exercise at the same time;
  • Visit of local ethnographical museum with a long history of lamprey fishing;
  • Visit of ancient fortifications in the vicinity of Riga – an increasingly popular tourism object and important bat site at the same time; on-site discussions on challenges and opportunities. Excursion in the fortifications led by one of the top bat experts in Latvia, Mr Viesturs Vintulis

Level of difficulty: easy; no specific equipment (e.g. rubber boots) needed 

 

5.3.1. Boating in restored raised bog + walk along the boardwalk in Ķemeri Raised Bog

Recommended excursions for Workshop No 5.4. “How do we adapt protected area management to a changing climate?”

Canoe trip in a raised bog currently in a transition phase from a former peat extraction site to a natural raised bog; restoration works took place in 2006

A chance to experience one of sustainable tourism offers in Ķemeri National Park created as a result of cooperation between an interested and environmentally aware tourism business (the tour will be led by them) and Nature Conservation Agency. And also a possibility to learn more about sphagnum planting carried out in 2018 to provide additional support for the regeneration processes in the bog restoration site; as well as studies of carbon emissions produced here.

Main attractions/experiences:

Level of difficulty: medium. The pace of the trip will be slow, with the main focus on sightseeing and photos; yet, there will be some obstacles in the route requiring getting in and out of the boat on a swampy, wet surface and dragging the boat(s) across patches of “mainland” (i.e., crossing bog islands). Wellington boots essential!!!

 

 

5.3.2. Walking with bog shoes in Ķemeri Raised Bog + walk along the boardwalk in Ķemeri Raised Bog

A chance to experience one of sustainable tourism offers in Ķemeri National Park created as a result of cooperation between an interested and environmentally aware tourism business (the tour will be led by them) and Nature Conservation Agency. And also a possibility to learn more about sphagnum planting carried out in 2018 to provide additional support for the regeneration processes in the bog restoration site; as well as studies of carbon emissions produced here.

Main attractions/experiences:

Level of difficulty: hard. Walking with bog shoes will take place in a natural raised bog, i.e., wet and swampy terrain without any roads, paths, boardwalks, etc.. Wellington boots essential!!!

Note! Field trips 5.3.1. and 5.3.2. travel together with the same bus and share some of the attractions together

 


 

Excursions outside framework, i.e., not thematically connected with any workshop

 

1. Moricsala Strict Nature Reserve (Boat + walking)

 

Exclusive possibility to visit Moricsala Strict Nature Reserve – the oldest Protected Area in Latvia, founded already in 1912 and situated on an island in Lake Usma, Kurzeme region. The area is closed for visitors, only research activities are allowed there. This excursion is intended for keen and very interested biology experts and the number of people in the group is strictly limited. More information about the area here

Level of difficulty: easy. But please keep in mind that the reserve is situated on an island of one of the biggest (and deepest) lakes in Latvia and can only be reached by boat; small motor boat will be used for this trip. The weather is often cold and windy here, especially in the end of September.

 

2. Geological Hike in Gauja National Park

Possibility to visit Gauja National Park – the oldest and biggest National park of Latvia featuring unique geological landscape – the Gauja River Valley with sandstone outcrops, attracting ~ 1 million tourist visits a year. The hike will take you along several scenic nature trails in the Park featuring small rivers and sandstone outcrops. It will be led by 2 Nature Conservation Agency staff members – acknowledged geology expert and local environment inspector, who will also provide an insight into peculiarities of inspection work, especially in connection with illegal fishing.

Level of difficulty: hard. Walking be on wet, hilly and thus possibly very slippery terrain along natural paths in the forest. Length of walk about 10 km, package lunch outdoors. Wellington boots essential!!!

 


 

Post-conference tours on September 28

Registering for this tour will be possible during the conference on the spot.

10.00 Walking excursion in Jūrmala City Centre

(architecture, cultural history, beach, etc.).

Duration about 2 hours. Free of charge.

 

Travel to “a country within a country” – the amazing Latgale region

(2 days; returning on September 29 around 19 o’clock to Riga City Centre and Airport). Situated alongside the Russian border, Latgale region is known for its own dialect, heart-warming hospitality, diverse cultural history and stunning nature with hundreds of lakes, ancient hillforts and other natural treasures.

Some of the main attractions/experiences:

The final cost of the tour will be determined by the number of participants. For a group of 10-20 people the price is 135 €/person, for a group of 21-30 (or even 40) people the price is 105 €/person. The price includes:

  • Transport
  • English speaking guide
  • Meals (2 x lunch and 1 x dinner)
  • Accommodation in double rooms including breakfast
  • Entrance fees to the museums and other objects of interest

If you are interested to join the post conference tour, please book it directly from the local tour operator.

 

Photo: a/s “Latvijas valsts meži”

A full day visit to Nature Park “Tērvete” together with Joint Stock Company “Latvia’s State Forests”

A possibility to have an insight into management experience and practices of one of the main Latvian stakeholders in forestry, nature recreation and tourism - Joint Stock Company “Latvia’s State Forests”  by visiting one of the TOP tourism destinations in Latvia – LVM Nature Park in Tervete managed by "Mammadaba".

Creating tourism infrastructure, landscape elements and recreation opportunities for families and children, organizing events, nature education activities and marketing, managing large, intensive tourism flows in a Protected Area – participants of this trip can expect an insight into all of these aspects and many more. Participation is free of charge; lunch included.

If you wish to join this tour, please book via Joint Stock Company “Latvia’s State Forests” directly, e-mail: europarc2019@lvm.lv