General Information

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Park History

Sar Mountain is a large high-mountain massif that stretches along the border area between North Macedonia and Kosovo. The area of Sar Mountain is a European biodiversity hotspot with extraordinary natural values. After several decades of waiting, on June 30 2021, the Assembly of RNM declared part of Sar Mountain a National Park.

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Basic Information

According to IUCN criteria, the park belongs to a category II protected area - National Park, with more than 75% of the territory under a high degree of protection. The primary objective of the park is preservation of the already established natural values, improving the well-being of the people living in the park, as well as providing economic benefits in multiple sectors.

The park spans on more than 62,705 hectares, and it is rich in forests, grasslands, glacial lakes, watercourses and diverse geomorphology. The region is characterized by high mountains whose peaks easily exceed 2,500 meters, with Titov Vrv being the highest peak, located at 2,748 meters above sea level. Within the boundaries of the park there are 27 villages with about 17,000 inhabitants, divided into seven municipalities: Jegunovce, Tearce, Tetovo, Bogovinje, Vrapcishte, Gostivar, Mavrovo and Rostusha.

As a part of the park is also Popova Shapka, the ski center which has 3 cable cars, several small and medium-sized ski lifts and 20 km of ski tracks. In the vicinity of the ski center there are several hotels, a large number of holiday homes for private accommodation and several restaurants. Mass tourism is mostly practiced in the winter period, while various types of alternative tourism are intensively developed year round.

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Zoning of the Park

For the protection of natural values and the promotion of economic development, 4 zones have been defined in the park:

  • Strict Protection Zone (26.56%) - represents an area of the highest interest for protection, primarily with original and unchanged characteristics of the ecosystems. In this zone, the human influence will have to be reduced to a minimum, therefore no interventions are allowed. The zone of strict protection is divided into 5 units: Ljuboten, Bistrica, Kobilica, Leshnica and Mazdraca. 
  • Active Management Zone (49.06%) - an area of high interest for protection in which management interventions are needed for the purpose of restoration and maintenance, revitalization or rehabilitation of habitats, ecosystems and other elements of the landscape. It includes the regions for traditional grazing and the significant forest ecosystems of Shar Mountain.
  • Sustainable Development Zone (22.02%) - includes infrastructure facilities, cultural heritage facilities, forest types that are influenced by human activities and mountain settlements with surrounding agricultural land. In this zone, the use of natural resources is allowed in a way that does not threaten the survival of species and their habitats.
  • Buffer Zone (2.37%) - created around the existing infrastructure of the tourist settlement Popova Shapka and the potential development area of the ski center. The buffer zone foresees measures that will control and reduce the effect of economic activities in the park.