More and more tourists are finding their way to the Bargerveen wetland area

More and more tourists are finding their way to the Bargerveen wetland area More and more tourists are finding their way to the Bargerveen wetland area,” says Henry Schepers from the Wetland Walking Centre in Weiteveen, which organises walks in the nature reserve and also offers overnight stays. According to him the bed & breakfast service at the centre has already hosted more guests so far this year than it did during the whole of last year. The number of guided walks is also going up, he says.

He has found that interest in the nature reserve has grown constantly in the last few years. The growth has become particularly apparent since the building of the sheep shed and its opening by the King of The Netherlands. On a few occasions there have also been reports about us in the national news media, amongst others, in the newspaper De Telegraaf.” Schepers further says that new facilities like the new cycle ways are a reason for the steady increase. “They have had noticeable effects. They really appeal to tourists.”

Daniek Hoogland from the Wollegras Restaurant next to the sheep shed is immensely pleased that these facilities have been put in place. “I’ve no way of comparing, but business is booming. Particularly on Sundays there’s a lot going on here. The restaurant is packed. Partly with tourists, but partly also with people from the area. My mother runs the d’Aole Pastorie tea garden north of Bargerveen. She too is noticing more visitors coming to this area this year than in the previous year.”

Forest ranger Jans de Vries from the Staatsbosbeheer, the national forestry office, also notices an increase in the number of walkers and cycle-riders in the Bargerveen wetlands We do not do proper counts in the nature reserve, but there is a general feeling that it is getting busier and busier there. I estimate that we are getting several hundred thousand visitors a year.

In this forest ranger’s view the number of visitors must be made to fit in with the conservation of nature in Bargerveen. “Our approach is to make the peripheral areas of the nature park partly accessible to visitors by means of footpaths and cycle ways and so keep the partly closed-off heart of the Bargerveen undisturbed. We also keep strict account of the needs of fauna and flora. If they are endangered by tourism, we intervene. Of course, we don’t want the nature reserve to turn into an amusement park.”

Naturally he is pleased that more and more people are coming to the wetland. This very, very “green“ forest ranger wants nature to have priority at all times, but if an area like this is to be kept up, one has to get people involved and show what is being done there. Moreover, Bargerveen covers an area of 2,500 hectares. “You can’t simply put a fence around it and tell people they’re just not welcome there.”

Bron: Dagblad van het Noorden