Sam Massman and Cindy Ebbert, both from White River National Forest, recently returned from an International Programs assignment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They provided advice on the development of the long-distance trail, Via Dinarica, which passes through Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Massman and Ebbert’s visit was hosted by Terra Dinarica, a nonprofit organization which provides vision, coordination, and development of the sections of the trail located in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During their trip, Massman and Ebbert hiked nearly 40 miles of trail and interacted with Terra Dinarica’s enthusiastic and committed staff and volunteers. They worked closely with Kenan Muftić, the organization’s technical advisor, providing guidance on design, construction and maintenance techniques for specific sections of the trail. In addition, the team brainstormed potential solutions to a variety of trail management issues. The Forest Service team also led a “Trail Design, Construction & Maintenance” workshop for various partner groups.
The trail, around 1,200 miles in length, runs along the spine of the Dinaric Alps. It passes through stunning mountain scenery and rural communities rich in cultural history. The project promotes economic development in the communities along the trail by supporting new guesthouses, restaurants, and shops selling locally made goods. It also draws attention to the amazing natural resources of the country and the need for long-term protection of these landscapes.
Massman and Ebbert shared that their greatest impression from this experience was the dedication and passion of the staff and partners of Terra Dinarica and their commitment to the continued development of this project. They indicated that Bosnia and Herzegovina has amazing opportunities for visitors from around the world to enjoy the beautiful mountains, rivers, forests and cultural history.