Olympus is now a “national park”. The first area of the country that in 1938 was declared a national park now acquires an upgraded “grid” of protection. The long-awaited, for a decade, Presidential Decree (PD) was finally published in the Government Gazette (610 / 17.9.2021), characterizing the land and water area of the mythical mountain as a national park. At the same time, it delimits and defines protection zones, land uses, conditions and permitted activities.
The aim is to protect Olympus from the development pressures that it has been receiving all the previous years, mainly from business initiatives that focused on winter tourism. Or from… original investment plans _ some had also been proposed by local politicians _ which reached the limits of a kitsch or a scandalously unmatched project for the emblematic mountain. For example, the proposal for the creation of theme parks, such as “Disneyland”, with the 12 gods of Olympus or for the construction of large-scale hotel facilities with their own helipads, cable cars, etc.
Thus, any efforts to complete the PD found many obstacles in front of them and in combination with the difficulty of the public administration, it remained “frozen” for years, although as of September 13, 2011 it had already been put to public consultation. Finally, in 2019, it managed to get the opinion of the “Nature 2000” Committee, but another two years passed until it was forwarded for audit to the Council of State, the relevant corrections were made and the final signatures were made. Finally, according to the PD, within the Olympus National Park are demarcated and characterized:
a) Zone AD – Nature Protection Area. Minimal activities are allowed there, such as the scientific research of the natural ecosystems and the species of flora and fauna, the execution of absolutely necessary forest management tasks with the consent of the Management Body, the maintenance of the existing paths, etc.
b) Zone BD – Nature Protection Area. In this area are also allowed the execution of protection, maintenance, promotion and excavation works in historical, archeological sites and monuments, guided tours, organization of ecotourism activities other than disturbing activities, such as helicopter skiing (heliskiing), sports horse racing etc. Also, there will be able to operate soft infrastructure e.g. Observatories, visitor rest facilities, wooden or stone seats, shelters, fountains, etc. In this area, for reasons of fire protection or protection from natural disasters or protection of sensitive ecosystems, the passage of vehicles in parts of the road network may be prohibited.
c) Zone DG – Area of the National Park. The construction and operation of mountain refuges, beekeeping, agriculture, logging and free-range grazing will be allowed _ in addition to what is provided for the other zones _. In fact, for the service of livestock, the construction and use of facilities for animals, watering cans and small rain tanks will be allowed. Also, after the opinion of the Management Body, projects can be carried out that serve the allowed activities, while after the opinion of the Architecture Council, the repair and restoration-restoration of ruined buildings and the restoration of elements of the rural landscape (fountains, cobblestones, bridges, etc. .π.), representative of traditional architecture. In addition, among other things, local products can be sold outdoors or indoors.
Apart from the National Park, a Regional Zone D is delimited, where the opinion of the Management Body will be sought for the allowed activities. Permitted projects and activities in the Olympus National Park will require environmental permission and, where appropriate, the opinion of the Managing Authority.
The introduction of foreign species of wild fauna and flora, the alteration of geological formations, the deforestation, the capture or intentional killing as well as the capture of wildlife species, the collection, cutting, will not be allowed throughout the park. eradication, possession, transport of plants, use of pesticides and insecticides, etc.
Also, on Mount Olympus, visitors will not be allowed to spend the night outdoors and camp freely, nor will fishing and visitors move along and into the riverbeds, unless the Management Plan provides otherwise for specific places and time periods.