On September 30th, 2021, great news for Arnika and mainly its long-term partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced. The Government of the Republika Srpska passed the Decision on the proclamation of the Natural Monument "Vrela Sana" (springs of the Sana River), for the protection of which the Center for the Environment (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Arnika (Czechia) launched an initiative at the end of January 2019. This decision finally declares 3.2 km2 of protected area, which includes three karst springs of the river Sana, the lower course of the river Korana and the cave Mračaj, as a natural monument, called the Monument of Nature "Springs of Sana".
“We have been waiting for such a decision for a long time and we hope that new initiatives will be launched and the number of protected areas on the territory of the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina will increase. The area of the source of the Sana is a place that attracts nature lovers with its beauty, and the proclamation of protection opens many opportunities for the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, which is what we are striving for all the time,” said Viktor Bjelic from the Center for Environment. “We will continue with such initiatives in order to preserve valuable natural areas for future generations,” added Bjelic.
Boro Marić from the Pecka Visitor Center and the partner organization Greenways from Mrkonjić Grad is also one of those who have come a long way from the desire for protection to actual protection. “We received this news with great excitement. We believe that the springs of the Sana River are an invaluable natural and cultural wealth that we must preserve at all costs. It was very difficult, and in some periods it seemed hopeless with a lot of events, protests and letters, court decisions, but also expert discussions about the value of the whole area. Numerous researches have been carried out and all of them confirm that the springs of the Sana are a pearl of nature with numerous springs, the Korana canyon, the Mracaj estuary and traces of human life in close contact with that source of life,” said Marić.
He adds that the Spatial Plan of Republika Srpska should have been implemented, which envisaged the Sana Nature Park and covered a larger territory that included the first two canyons of the Sana and Vrbljani, because all this is equally valid, but after the construction of the hydroelectric power plant the space narrowed. “Yet this does not diminish our joy today that the Springs of Sana are finally protected!”