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Do you agree with the construction ban?

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On 22 April, the Bulgarian government banned the construction of new hotels and ski runs on Mount Vitosha, 10km from Sofia. The move is part of a plan for the management of the oldest national park on the Balkan Peninsula. It is aimed at ensuring the preservation of the mountain landscape and biodiversity, and at boosting the country's tourism sector. The government has allocated about 750,000 euros for the measures, which are due to be implemented during the first two years of the plan, ending in 2010.
Vitosha is visited by about 2.5 million tourists a year. The mountain's proximity to the capital and accessibility by car and public transport make it a favourite destination for hikers, climbers and skiers. It has six ski runs of varying difficulty, all on the northeastern slope of the mountain. The skiing season usually begins in December and ends in late spring, particularly on the mountain's highest peak, Cherni Vruh (2290m).
Any further construction of hotels or ski runs would have a negative impact on the natural environment, authorities believe. The new management plan allows the renovation and upgrading of existing facilities, but not their expansion. It also envisions regulating tourist access to areas that are home to endangered species of flora or fauna.
The mountain is also rich in animal life. As many as 200 species of birds -- including about 120 nesting species -- can be found there, as well as 40 species of ants, 10 species of amphibians, 14 species of reptiles and 49 kinds of mammals. Wolves, foxes and bears are among the predators living in Vitosha, alongside red deer, hares and red squirrels.

 
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