FOCUS: Mr. Zhalov, you trained speleologists by a project of Smolyan Municipality, what was the purpose and how many people did you train?
Alexey Zhalov: When there are interesting and poorly explored landschafts and having in mind their rational use and protection we need a well-prepared team of people. That’s why the project will involve training of one group of people, which is divided in two. Five people have been trained for speleologists at a beginner stage, another five were trained in more advanced modes. The trainees passed this course, following programs that have been unified by training programs, which are valid within the Bulgarian Federation of Spelelogy with almost the full number of hours set for theoretical and practical training. The best thing is that they all managed to pass the exam with excellence after all and obtained certificates and diplomas. Now the Mursalitsa spelelogy and extremist tourism club has five trained speleologists, who we hope will urge the new activities. Five people from the club got a better qualification that will help the club’s activity, firstly, as a unity of NGOs, secondly, as a team that has taken the first steps and now develops caving and extremist tourism in the municipality. Everyone is looking forward to that. The idea was to have both goals achieved – one of them being a hobby. Along with that our federation now has ten new trained aides.
FOCUS: What caught your attention in the course of training, we heard you found new caves along the Arda River?
Alexey Zhalov: What is worth mentioning is that our training passed in an expedition, which means that we managed to find new caves within the practical lessons. The map of caves of the municipality increased with four new markings. It turned out that one of the caves has two entrances, so they are three caves. Having in mind what we did in the previous two stages of the project and in the two previous expeditions, now we see the number of caves has reached 21.
FOCUS: Will you continue exploring?
Alexey Zhalov: I want to say that we spotted a few new sites for exploration with positive perspectives. The team will work at its best in the near future. We expect great, perhaps very interesting findings. When we concluded our work last night I said the region was like a flour sack that the more you beat, the more you get – caves, speleologists, which is very good, of course.
I want to point to the role of the municipality. I want to note that this is the country’s first pioneer project that binds these activities. Opening, rational use and protection of caves, making a tourist product that works for enriching the region in all meanings of the word. We train people here and we help the progress of caving by implementing this project. This is praiseworthy, I would like to note that we found a good partner here, meaning the municipality and working together for another time I see we proved to each other we can be useful. I want to thank the municipality for having lent a hand and I hope we will remain good partners, because there are many interesting things here. We can make not only geographic explorations, as is the finding of a new cave, we can help for their exploring and assimilating in terms of tourist potential, as well as preserving as a natural resource.
Source: Focus Information Agency