Draft Slovenian Nature Conservation Act threat for trail access
5 February 2014
The Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture & Environment presented a draft of the Nature Conservation Act (NCA) that causes a serious threat for the Slovenian mountain bike community. The ministry said the draft NCA proposes a general prohibition on driving wheels in a natural environment, which led to consternation of the entire mountain bike community. The Nature Conservation Act implies more stringent legislation and higher penalties for those who violate the new (proposed) law. The proposed NCA surprised IMBA Europe member Slovenska kolesarska mreža (Slovenian Cycling Network) and the tourism industry. Instead of integrating mountain biking in the natural environment and develop the full potential mountain biking offers, this new act puts even more rigorous restrictions and penalties for those who love to ride their bikes. Adaptation of the NCA in its current form would be a huge step back for mountain biking in Slovenia. A ban on mountain biking is definitely not the solution and therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment agreed to meet with representatives of mountain bikers in order to find a solution. Nevertheless, the Slovenian Cycling Network and the Legal Information Centre for NGO’s prepare draft amendments and supplements. The proposed solution provides two stages:Amendments of the NCA that will allow to ride mountain bikes in the natural environment under specified conditions.Because not all conditions and details can be included in the Nature Conservation Act, the second stage of the problem solving process provides an Executive Act, which will specify the procedures of establishing mountain-biking infrastructure and concepts such as management, maintenance and liability. This should lead to a more solid foundation for the establishment, regulation, and (also) sanctioning the field of mountain biking, At the same time, the mountain bike community shows maturity and willingness to become a partner in the conservation of nature and the development of mountain biking in Slovenia.