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Natural values of Matsalu have been protected for already 60 years

17.11.2017 /

The 60th anniversary of protecting the nature of Matsalu was celebrated on 21 September 2017 in Penijõe Manor with a jubilee event "Traces of Matsalu in Cinema”.

This year, 60 years passes from the time when Matsalu State Nature Reserve, a forerunner of Matsalu National Park, was established. The anniversary was celebrated with a jubilee event held in the course of Matsalu International Nature Film Festival where all former and current practitioners and researchers related to Matsalu National Park as well as other people interested in nature are welcome. At the Penijõe film night, old films of the nature of Matsalu were seen and comments by film-makers and former nature conservation employees on experiences related to Matsalu were heard. 

“The cooperation between the nature of Matsalu National Park and the man has changed throughout the time and based on that, the nature conservation activity has kept up with the changes. From time to time, it is necessary to meet and think about what has happened to understand what is valuable and how to organise the nature conservation here and how to guide it in the future,” said Kaja Lotman, Adviser of Nature Conservation to the Environmental Board, who has been active in Matsalu for more than 25 years.

In Matsalu, the nature has worked together with the people and protected each other. It is for a reason that the most important areas of Matsalu are called semi-natural – without moderate human activity, the broad flood-meadows, coastal pastures and wooded meadows which are home to many rare animal, bird and plant species would not be maintained.

“Also this year, the extensive flood-meadows and coastal meadows have been filled with birds of passage who prepare for a long flight to the south. So this is the best time to join the film experiences with bird watching in Matsalu observation towers,” recommended Kaja Lotman.

On 11 July 1957, Estonian Nature Conservation Government was created and four state nature reserves were established: Matsalu, Nigula, Vaika and Viidumäe. Matsalu National Park was created based on the nature reserve on 10 May 2004 to protect the communities indigenous to West Estonia and the nature and cultural legacy of the Väinameri Sea.

Matsalu National Park belongs to the cross-European network of Natura 2000 protected areas and is one of the most important protected area of birds in Europe. The national park with a surface area of approximately 500 square kilometres has been included in the Ramsari wetlands of international importance and has been recognised with a diploma of European protected areas and a certificate of sustainable tourism.