“There is growing public demand for the presentation of Hungary’s natural treasures and for increased social awareness”, the Ministry of Agriculture’s State Secretary for Environmental Affairs Dr. András Rácz declared at the official inauguration of the Harkály Ház (“Woodpecker House”) Visitors’ and Education Centre in Mátrafüred on Wednesday.

At the event, the State Secretary drew attention to the fact that some ten percent of Hungary’s territory, a ratio that is significant even in international comparison, enjoys conservation protection status. “The Bükk National Park Directorate is also visited by an increasing number of people each year: while the National Park received a total of 96 registered visitors in 2010, over 230 thousand guests arrived last year”, he emphasised.
“Around half of the 700 registered facilities in Hungary that perform ecotourism and environmental education activities are partly or fully maintained by one of the country’s national parks. Accordingly, it may be stated that national park directorates are among the largest guarantors of ecotourism in Hungary”, he stated. “With the help of government and EU funding, national parks spent 38 billion forints (EUR 110 million) on nature conservation between 2014 and 2020, thanks to which the state of the natural environment has improved on an area of over one hundred thousand hectares with the help of some one hundred projects”, he explained.
“We must teach both children and adults about our environmental treasures and to love nature, because as a result we may also reinforce the national identity”, Mr. Rácz highlighted. “Our national parks also play a priority role in enabling people to vacation in tranquillity and safety, and at affordable prices”, the State Secretary also pointed out.
At the event, Director of the Bükk National Park Directorate Kálmánné Rónai spoke about the fact that the development project highlights the targets and activities that the park’s employees perform on an everyday basis. According to the park director, it is our duty to preserve and maintain the unique and diverse species that can be found in the region, because these creatures make up the biological diversity of the Mátra mountain range.
The main goal of the Harkály Ház Visitors’ and Education Centre is to present the region’s natural treasures, protected and Natura 2000 areas, habitats, and plant and animal species. The indoor permanent exhibition helps visitors become familiar with the natural and cultural history treasures of the volcanically formed Mátra mountain range. Within the exhibition space, models, terrain tables, dioramas and various other displays are available to guests as static presentational instruments, supplemented by a host of interactive elements, including task sheets, creative installations, multimedia content and touch-screen terminals. In addition to the indoor exhibition, the Cincér (Longhorn beetle) educational trail was also realised within the framework of the project, and leads from the courtyard of the new building towards Sas (Eagle) Lake. The existing Sár Hegy educational trail has also been refurbished and extended. The project was realised at a total cost of 332 million forints (EUR 960 thousand).

(MTI/Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister)