Green Bicycle - East Carpathian Greenway
Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine
The Green Bicycle Greenway aims to build an international network of bicycle and other non-motorized trails focussed on the East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve. The motivation is to provide local people and visitors with access to natural and cultural heritage areas. By engaging with local communities, the Green Bicycle has become much more than just a bicycle trail. It is a source of inspiration for action to protect heritage for those concerned about threats to the outstanding natural and cultural attractions of the area. The greenway has generated new community-based initiatives centred on handicraft workshops and galleries, local heritage products, agro-environmental schemes for local farmers, school projects and other initiatives.
Travelling along the greenway, visitors can visit unusual tissue-paper workshops in Bobrka (where local artists give courses on flower-making from tissue-paper), a ceramics centre in an agrotourism farm in Jankowce or a gallery selling local “Made in Bieszczady” products. In Zatwarnica, visitors can explore an old Bojko wooden house, which has been turned into an environmental education centre promoting local handicrafts and cuisine. The most interesting heritage sites have been recognized with the “Green Bicycle” logo.
The Green Bicycle initiative started in 2001 as a non-governmental initiative aimed at increasing local community involvement in economic development and protection of the outstanding natural and heritage values of the region. The project soon built up a constituency of support, who joined together to form a Local Partnership called the “Green Bieszczady”. The Partnership was created as a coalition of 32 NGOs, 10 local governments, 20 schools, 28 small and medium enterprises, the Bieszczady National Park authorities and the Polish Environmental Partnership Foundation.
The coordinator of the Green Bicycle Greenway is Bieszczady Environmental Partnership Foundation located in Lesko, which works closely with the Bieszczady Cyclists’ Society. Although the initiative started in Poland, the Green Bicycle has been extended to the Slovak side (2004) and also to the Ukrainian (2005) part of the East Carpathians.
Main tourist attractions and towns along this trail (nature and cultural heritage)
About the region:
The East Carpathians bring together outstanding natural values of one of Poland’s wildest regions and colourful ethnic, historical and cultural heritage of the three countries: Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. The core area of the UNESCO biosphere reserve (the first trilateral reserve in the world) protects old-growth forest and some of the least disturbed natural habitats in Europe, which are home to large carnivores.
Main tourist attractions:
- The Bieszczady National Park – the largest mountain national park in Poland;
- Hiking and horse-back riding on the 'Poloniny' – high mountain meadows (typical of the Carpathians) ;
- Cycling along the river valleys;
- Bieszczady narrow gauge railway in the Cisna-Wetlina Landscape Park;
- Nature tours with specialized guides for photographing and tracking Carpathian fauna, including wolves, bisons, red dear and birds.
- Carpathian music, wine and local traditions;
- Old wooden orthodox churches;
- Art galleries and artists' workshops;
- Handicraft workshops: pottery, tissue-paper, glass-painting, smithery, wicker weaving, etc.;
- Flights over the Bieszczady mountains with glider or paraglider;
- Dog sledding in winter;
- Cross-country skiing, ski-tourism;
- Autumn and spring photo-tours and photo-safaris;
- Kayak tours and sailing on Solina Lake and the San River;
- Historic Jewish cultural sites;
- Local cuisine reflecting a mixture of traditions of many cultures and nations;
- Fishing (trout and grayling), etc.
Lesko and Ustrzyki Dolne are the best starting points for using the greenway. Both are accessible by public transport.
General characteristic of the Greenway
Geographical reference mark (major access points/start/end of a greenway)
– towns and areas crossed: main backbone: (no R–61), Roztoki Gorne (border crossing with Slovakia) – Cisna – Solina – Myczkowce – Lesko – Olszanica – Brzegi Dolne – Kroscienko (border crossing with Ukraine).
The main access and starting points are two towns – Ustrzyki Dolne (accessible by train) and Lesko, where there is an information centre.
Length – 900 km, including 105 km of the main international trail (backbone trail) + 200 km mountain bike trails “Bieszczady Extreme” + 595 km of local trails – loops.
Surface – hard paved surface (main backbone)
percentage of trail/forestry roads/service roads/quiet roads main trail or theme loop
percentage of trail – main backbone:
forestry roads/service roads/quiet roads:
44 % – 396 km forestry roads with hard surface
22.22 % – 200 km unpaved forestry roads
12.24 % – 110.2 km quiet roads
21.54 % – 193.8 km roads with medium motor traffic
main backbone: cyclists local loops: mountain bicycles, hikers, cross-country skiers, kayaks
additional attractions : narrow gauge railway, photo-safaris and nature tracks in the Bieszczady National Park and nature reserves, participation in local cultural events, handicraft workshops (pottery, tissue-paper flower-making, glass painting, etc.), visiting the “Eco-museum of Three Cultures” in Lutowiska, and many others.
Inter-modality possibilities (connections to closest cities/towns and options for using public transport train/bus with relevant web sites or links)The best starting point is the town of Ustrzyki Dolne, which is accessible by train. There are good train connections from Rzeszow (2-3 hours), train, bus and mini-bus connections with Warsaw (7-9 hours). From Krakow, the best option is taking a train to Rzeszow and then a bus to the Bieszczady Region.
There is a guidebook with a map of the East Carpathian Greenway published in Polish, English, Slovak and Ukrainian available in bookstores all over Poland.
Contact to Trail Organization
“The Carpathian Centre for Active Tourism – Green Bicycle” – local tour-operator and social enterprise (Karpackie Centrum Turystyki Aktywnej “Zielony Rower”)
Przemysław Ołdakowski, Green Bicycle – East Carpathian Greenway Corodinator
Bieszczadzka Fundacja Partnerstwo dla ?rodowiska), Carpathian Center for Active Tourism (Karpackie Centrum Turystyki Aktywnej “Zielony Rower”), Plac Konstytucji 3 Maja 7, 38-600 Lesko, Poland, tel./fax: + 48 13 469 62 90, mobile: + 48 600 023 490, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bieszczady Cyclists’ Society (Bieszczadzkie Towarzystwo Cyklistów)Krzysztof Plamowski, 38-700 Ustrzyki Dolne, Poland, ul. 29 Listopada 51/1, tel. +48 693 131 033, fax. +48 13 461 10 92, e-mail: email@example.com
For more tourist opportunities certified with the “Green Bicycle” logo – see: www.zielonyrower.pl, information available in Polish and English