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The “Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains” campaign turns its attention to making hiking trails and mountain lodges safer

The campaign’s 12th season focuses on improving fire safety in mountain lodges and on restoring hiking trails

The “Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains” campaign is beginning its 12th season with the “Best Hiking Trail 2021” competition. Mountain enthusiasts can cast their vote on the Vse bo v redu plus website. This year, the campaign will focus not only on restoring dangerous trails, but once again on improving fire safety in mountain lodges. Mountain lodges can apply for a fire risk assessment and the installation of automatic fire-extinguishing ampoules and fire extinguishers.

For fewer accidents in the mountains
The popular pan-Slovenian “Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains” campaign, in collaboration with the Alpine Association of Slovenia (PZS), will once again hold its “Best Hiking Trail” competition. Mountain enthusiasts can vote once a day until 21 June at Zavarovalnica Triglav will give trailblazers financial support to restore the trail that receives the most votes. The eight contending hiking trails, ranging from technically demanding trails to easily accessible paths, are:
• Kranjska koča na Ledinah–Koroška Rinka
• The Jubilee Mountain Trail from Vršič to Prisojnik via Zadnje Plate and through Zadnje Okno
• Pekel–Rjavina–Dom Valentina Staniča via Rž-Kredarica
• Matkov Kot–Matkov Škaf
• Okrešelj–Mrzla gora
• Iška–Veliki Ločnik
• Kamniška Bistrica–Presedljaj–Korošica
• Ruše–alongside the Lobnica creek–the Šumik waterfall–Bajgot

By holding the “Best Hiking Trail” competition for the fourth consecutive year, the “Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains” campaign and the PZS shed light on the work of Slovenia’s 800 trailblazers who make sure that more than 10,000 km of trails are safe and maintained. “Some hiking trails stand out for their natural beauty, incredible views and popularity. The ’Best Hiking Trail’ competition helps us find these gems and introduce them to the public, so that nature lovers can enjoy them as well. Many people don’t realise that maintaining hiking trails is done voluntarily by members of alpine associations and trailblazers, but this competition makes mountains enthusiasts aware of this. With the campaign’s help, the best hiking trail will receive financial support, and trailblazers will be able to cover the costs of their work,“ said Damjan Omerzu, Secretary-General of the PZS.

Fewer fires in mountain lodges
Zavarovalnica Triglav’s popular pan-Slovenian campaign, in collaboration with the PZS, is improving fire safety in mountain lodges for the second consecutive year. “Fire safety is one of the challenges when managing a mountain lodge. The ’Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains’ campaign addresses this challenge by raising awareness and introducing new fire protection technologies, as well as by sharing expertise and experience. Mountain lodges are usually located in remote places where putting out fires is more challenging. Any activity that contributes to fire safety is of key importance for mountain lodges,“ said the PZS’s Secretary-General.

The first seven minutes are crucial
In just seven minutes, an incipient fire can spread out of control. Past experience shows that mountain lodges are at greater risk for this to happen due to their remoteness, old fire-fighting equipment, and the fact that some lodges are empty part of the year. “In the effort to address the issue of fire safety in mountain lodges, 52 lodges were equipped with automatic fire-extinguishing ampoules last year, in partnership with the PZS. Alpine societies and lodges are invited to participate again this year – let’s do everything we can to prevent fires. The mountain lodges and huts that will successfully enter the competition this year will receive a visit from the experts at Bonpet, who will check the rooms, determine fire hazard areas and install ampoules or fire extinguishers that trigger automatically when the temperature rises, thus putting out incipient fires,“ said Ana Cergolj Kebler, head of the “Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains” campaign, adding that the PZS would carry out a fire drill in one of the mountain lodges in the autumn.

We’re all responsible for clean and safe hiking trails and mountain lodges
To improve fire safety, mountain lodge keepers can apply to the competition held by the PZS and the “Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains” campaign by 28 May. “Any measure that improves fire safety in mountain lodges is more than welcome. With regular inspections and employee training, mountain lodge keepers can greatly improve fire safety. Hikers can also help by acting responsibly. Some hikers still use gas heaters in their rooms or use heaters to dry their clothes. It’s important to realise that we’re all responsible for fire safety and safety in the mountains in general,“ said Miro Eržen, vice-president of the Dovje-Mojstrana Alpine Society. Last year, two lodges the society manages, Šlajmerjev Dom and Aljažev Dom v Vratih, received the automatic fire-extinguishing ampoules.

To encourage hikers to be more responsible, the organisers of the 12th season of the “Let’s Clean Up Our Mountains” campaign, in association with the Mountain Rescue Association of Slovenia, will organise various activities to raise awareness among hikers, especially families and children, about the importance of safety and being well prepared for hiking.

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