Nature conservation vs. tourism

Footbridge for observing Dark Whiteface

Nature conservation and people enjoying the same nature sometimes leads to conflicts. If a specific nature area is vulnerable, having people entering that area will lead to (partial) destruction of that area. Something both nature conservators and nature enthusiasts don’t want. Sometimes this conflict is resolved and leads to something where both nature and people enjoying the same nature benefit.

A couple of years ago a population of Dark Whitefaces was found in a small bog in the Delleboersterheide, the only Dutch population of this species. There were many dragonfly enthusiasts who wanted to see this species of course. However, there was no public access to the bog and the edges of the bog are vulnerable, so walking towards the bog resulted in destruction of those edges. This year the owner of the terrain, It Fryske Gea built a wooden footbridge from the road to the edge of the bog. Now everybody has the opportunity to see the Dark Whiteface (and the other interesting species on the bog), without disturbing the vegetation. This footbridge is a great success, many people have already visited it and have enjoyed the Dark Whiteface. In the two hours I’ve been there about 8 Whitefaces made an appearance. Unfortunately none of them wanted to pose nice enough for a good picture. Something that is very important in my opinion, as this increases the support for nature conservation. Why would we otherwise want to conserve something if no one can see it?

So great compliments for It Fryske Gea and the Vlinderstichting for making this possible. A nice example how nature conservation and experiencing nature can go hand in hand.

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