Educational canopy trail planned for Normafa

Hungarian version of the article: Lombkorona-tanösvény épül a Normafán

March 27, 2021 at 4:00 PM

An educational canopy trail has been planned for Normafa. To be built on the former Sport Hotel site, the trail will have space for 150 visitors and focus on conservation education. The study trail will begin at ground level and climb above the tree canopy to offer a stunning view of Budapest.

"Green organizations, non-governmental organizations and the Hegyvidék local council have reached an exemplary consensus on the issue of the canopy trail to be established on Normafa" – the local council informed the MTI.

The statement recalls that the route of the educational canopy trail was finalised through a 36-month consultation process. As part of the process, Archabit Kft. and Hello Wood Zrt., the companies commissioned for planning, examined how to create a path that is better suited to the natural values of Normafa instead of previous large-scale ideas.

The educational trail will wind its way through the tree canopy (Source: hegyvidek.hu)

As the local council noted, Normafa and the surrounding forests are popular green destinations for Budapest's residents and unique natural treasures. The area houses 400-year-old oak and linden trees and 200–300-year-old beech trees. It is home to one of the largest, exceptionally complex of old trees in Hungary.

Original plans for the trail would have run a promenade along a ridge for 1 km to connect the car park with a lookout on the site of the former Sport Hotel. After consultation with conservation organizations, the local council reviewed the ideas, and a new plan was drawn up. The new ideas incorporated features from international solutions, divided the walkway into five separate sections and removed the lookout tower.

Each 140–220 metres long, the paths would have begun at ground level, ensuring ease-of-access. The canopy-level sections along the route would have offered views into the unique old-forests and would have been easy to reach from the chairlift.

NGOs support the new plans (Source: hegyvidek.hu)

According to the statement, the new plans were more agreeable to the local council and NGOs involved in the consultation but required further refinement. The new proposals were created based on another round of feedback from the conservation NGOs.

The local council has announced that the new plans will be realised in a different location and emphasise nature conservation-related education. The new route will be built entirely on the former Sport Hotel site to support efforts towards recultivating the area.

The local council has already removed 5,200 cubic metres of rubble, concrete, and debris from the forest by demolishing the hotel. Built on a sloped plot, the study path will have easy access to the canopy and provide a stunning view of the city – the announcement explains.

Following a proposal from Hello Wood’s design team, the former canopy promenade will become an educational trail promoting Normafa’s natural values, drawing attention to the native tree species endangered by climate change. Young visitors will be invited to guided tours to learn about nature playfully in specially designed bird-watching booths.

A café and a toilet will be built on the site of the former hotel (Source: hegyvidek.hu)

The local council and planners plan for the canopy study trail to present the natural values of Normafa in a way that preserves the old forests and does not increase traffic on Normafa during busy periods. To relieve the often crowded Anna Green, a meadow suitable for picnics, a café, and a rest area with trees, bushes, and other plants will be created on the site of the former hotel.

"Moderation and sustainability have been the primary considerations during the planning process. We are glad that the unparalleled consensus has been reached between the local council, nature conservation organizations, civilians and planners by the end of the planning process, ”concludes the statement from the Hegyvidék local council.

Source: MTI | Abridged in translation

Cover photo: Educational canopy trail planned for Normafa (Source: hegyvidek.hu)


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