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European Journal

Slovakia: Dispute over the High Tatra

The world's smallest high-altitude mountain range is teeming with bears and chamois. Investors want to open the region to tourism, but environmentalists warn of the consequences.

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The High Tatra is a legend in Slovakia. It is depicted in the country's coat of arms and its praises are sung in the national anthem. Up to now, not many tourists have visited it. But hotel operators and tourism associations are pushing to expand existing sport and leisure facilities. A government zoning plan envisions a protected core territory and resort areas for ski slopes and hotels. But environmentalists warn that the plans could harm the Tatra's uniquely diverse fauna and flora.