Since 2002, FREE Nature is working in the Balugarian Rodopian mountains. At first we started working on local natural grazing projects. In 2009 this was preceded by the project `New Thracian Gold’
In February 2009, ARK Nature and Avalon received funding form the Dutch Postcode lottery. This project strives for great wilderness areas, where people through eco tourism and build a sustainable living. This project continues earlier work on natural grazing. For this the experience of FREE Nature is used.
The New Thracian Gold is a project of the Dutch nature preservation organizations ARK and Avalon. By 2014 they will work on supporting economic growth and welfare in the Eastern Rhodopes Mountains by developing activities which combine organic farming, nature preservation and tourism.
The project is financially supported by the Dutch Postcode Lottery in the period of 2009 - 2014.
See also project website
Wilderness and biodiversity
We believe the best way to protect the typical mosaic landscape of Eastern Rhodope is if in the area are grazing different ungulates all year round (cattle, deer, horses, etc.). Local environmental organizations and individuals will be included in deployment activities associated with grazing in the natural environment and conservation of globally significant biodiversity of the Eastern Rhodopes.
Organic farming in conjunction with ecotourism will create jobs, raise life standards and reduce the depopulation of rural areas. The project "The New Thracian Gold" wants to achieve all this by investing mainly in exchanging experience and knowledge through training, seminars, and demonstration farms and support the various stages of organic farming to produce a unique ecological product and its implementation in Bulgaria and abroad.
The Rhodopes have all the necessary prerequisites to become a kind of center for ecotourism - stunning scenery, a wide variety of flora and fauna, rich cultural heritage. Again, by investing in the exchange of experience, our project will help all local tourist initiatives – farms offering accommodation in traditional Rhodope house, horseback riding, clubs and restaurants that specialize in serving tourists and others. The whole region will be presented and promoted to Western tourist industry.