About the Park

Vaya Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism

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When the nature responds you with a smile… Discover! Enjoy! Learn! Return!

The Vaya Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism is the result of the activities of the Via Pontica Foundation for involving people in the conservation of birds and nature!

After three years of planning, hard work on regulation, cleaning, restoration of natural vegetation and wildlife conservation, the Via Pontica Foundation invites you to Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya”, dedicated to the conservation of natural resources, changing the attitude to the protected territories and awareness of the opportunities, benefits and responsibilities for the conservation of biodiversity in the Republic of Bulgaria.

One place to get acquainted with interesting flora and fauna, hiking and outdoor recreation. Nature – as we want to preserve it for the future!

At Vaya Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism, you will find genuine eco-tourism opportunities because the Via Pontica Foundation team has taken care to ensure minimal impact of tourism activities on local natural resources. The Ecopark offers visitors the opportunity to learn many new things about the ecosystems, traditions and culture of the Burgas region without missing out on the adventure, excitement and relaxation.

Along with enjoying the stunning natural beauty, watching birds and animals in their natural habitats and meeting with members of the local community, the nature lovers can raise the awareness of the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic value of biological diversity and its components, its importance for the evolution and maintenance of vital systems in life in the Earth’s biosphere.

Interesting Facts about the Park

Vaya Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism is located near the Vaya Lake, which is the largest natural lake in Bulgaria. The Ecopark Master Plan has been drawn up with the intention of balancing its role as a recreational open space near the city of Burgas, which will help mitigate some of the adverse effects of urbanization on the surrounding area and at the same time help restore a healthy self-sustaining ecosystem.

The area of the Park is 700 Decares (173 Acres).

91 species of plants are described in its territory, including the species included in the Red Book as Black Sea Silene (Silene euxina), Spiny Bear’s Breech (Acanthus spinosus), Tutin (Heptaptera triquetra), Aiton (Erodium hoefftianum), Sea Purslane (Halimione portulacoides), and others.

Several species of animals are listed on the lake in the IUCN Red List – 5 invertebrates, 4 fishes, 4 amphibians, 3 reptiles, 5 birds and 3 mammals. Here we find the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla), a species included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria and the Monkey Goby (Neogobius fluviatilis). Protected species are also the Bleak (Chalcalburnus chalcoides) and European Bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus amarus). The fish species of commercial importance are the Silver Prussian Carp (Carassius gibelio) and the Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio).

From amphibians and reptiles there are two species included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria – the Aesculapian Snake (Elaphe longissima) and the European Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus apodus). Also subject to conservation are the European Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina bombina), Four-lined Snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata), Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca), European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis), Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni), Large Combed Triton (Tritonliterus Triton).

Other interesting species are the European Otter (Lutra lutra), Marbled Polecat (Vormela peregusna) and the Roach’s Mouse-tailed Dormouse (Myomimus roachi).

In 1998, the Vaya Lake was designated a CORINE site, because of its European importance for the conservation of rare and endangered bird species.

In 2003, the Lake was declared a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

In 2005 the site was declared by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

In 2007 IBA “Burgas Lake Vaya” is included in the European Ecological Network Natura 2000 as a protected area for the conservation of wild birds, as a Spatial Protected Area under the two Directives: Council Directive 2009/147 / EC on the conservation of wild birds and Council Directive 92/43 / EEC on the conservation of the natural habitats of wild fauna and flora.

Located in the Black Sea biogeographic area, home to nearly 270 bird species, the Bulgaria’s largest lake is a unique place over which the Via Pontica migration route and is of great importance for biodiversity, especially for birds. Over 100,000 birds, including the globally endangered Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and the Red-breasted Goose (Branta), Europe’s endangered Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), and Gray Heron (Ardeola ralloides), Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) and Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) gather here annually, during the migration and wintering period, as an important intermediate point and a place to stay for a large number of water, predatory and sparrow birds.

The lake is one of the most important places in the country, important for the European Union for the conservation of the breeding Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus). The Vaya Lake is the only place in Bulgaria where up to 7% of the Black Sea population of White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) is concentrated.

 

Here is the complete list of birds subject to conservation under Annex. 2 of the Biodiversity Act (Annex I to Dir.79 / 409 / EEC):

The following migratory bird species are also regularly encountered:

Activities

Via Pontica Foundation finances the construction of Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism Vaya to present and promote the protected area and the richness of the flora and fauna of Burgas Lake Vaya, raising people’s awareness of the value and importance of biodiversity and the importance of biodiversity environmental problems.

With its incredible wildlife and maintained intact ecosystems, the Vaya Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism Ecopark is a place for excitement, inspiration and exploration for tourists, but also a great contribution to research and discovery. A protected, living laboratory that monitors natural processes in nature in action, it attracts naturalists, field biologists and climatologists from around the world.

Group tours are organized for more than 100 children

Upon successful completion of eco-training, the participants receive a certificate for active participation in the Academy of Young Ecologists at Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya”.