Educational trail – preparation, implementation, care

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Slovakia is a very interesting country from the perspective of diversity as in spite of a relatively “small” area of its territory we can find a relatively wide range of various types of the landscape which provides the ideal conditions for the implementation of educative tourism for various target groups. Undemanding educative tourism can be applied in lowlands, surroundings of rivers or lakes; it is medium-demanding in hilly areas; and its mountainous to mountain environment can be interesting for the target group with the interest in gaining knowledge in a physically demanding terrain.

In order to make interesting natural, cultural or historical towns accessible for people and for the purposes of educational activities in the territory of Slovakia, new educational trails and localities are being built in the territory of Slovakia, while the quality of their implementation, technical, material or text-graphical finish are very different. They are mainly built on the already existing marked touristic routes with the aim to point out to interesting things and the value of the given place that would remain unnoticed by visitors without any notification. In the recent period, we have been recording building of educational trails and localities with interactive elements and models, with various themes or stories that attract the attention with its design of the smallest visitors, but also the professional public. In spite of that, the educational trail with stops in the form of educative and information boards, including the built resting area with small architecture, remains the commonest and most used element of the educative tourism.

Based on the aforementioned, the Slovak Environment Agency has drawn up and issued the methodological manual the aim of which is to point out to logical rules, principles and well-proved procedures, but also to frequent mistakes in designing, implementing and subsequent operating of educational trails in the form of positive and negative examples of the already built and operated educational trails.

The methodological manual “Educational trail – preparation, implementation and care” is intended for self-government, active civil associations, but also professional organizations of nature and landscape protection planning building of educational trails or ensuring their operation and care. The manual summarized knowledge and experience from the sphere of building and operating educational trails in the territory of three Slovak geoparks: Novohrad-Nograd Geopark, Banská Štiavnica Geopark and Banská Bystrica Geopark.