Hidden in the middle of deep forests of Lika region in Croatia, Plitvice lakes are one of the Europe’s top natural attractions. Thousands of tourists vist this National park every year, but did you know that just a few steps off of the main paths there is a real wilderness, an orienteers’ treat at its best?
On Darko Sakar’s (OK Maksimir, Zagreb) initiative in 1988 the first orienteering map of Plitvice was made by Arne Dirdal and Mats Karlsson, however, it was not before 18 years later that the first competition was actually organized there. In the period 2006 – 2007 a part of the map was renewed by Slovenian-Croatian and Czech mappers. This time it was Dario Štambuk, a Zagreb based dentist and a keen orienteer, who decided to revive the Plitvice project. I happened to be one of the lucky guys invited for mapping.
Strong similarity of relief features
Despite some heavy rains and cold hands during my stay in Plitvice, mapping of the area was fun, though I have to admit that running on the unknown part of the map made by Czech mappers was even far better. The main challenge of the area is the lack of paths, occasionally greenish vegetation which hinders visibility and above all a strong similarity of relief features. You lose map contact once, and most likely you will end up with a bad race. The fastest way to navigate through this area is to use the gentle ridges and flat hill tops between depressions as kind of line objects whenever you can. A skilled course planner will try to make this hardly possible, though.
Why should you run on this map before you die?
So why did we choose this map as a candidate for 101 maps you should run on before you die? Mainly because of the quality of terrain, but also because of the beauty of this very special place. Plitvice lakes are UNESCO protected and as corny as it may sound they really are something you should see. Not only because of unique waterscape, but also for the fact that the forests that surround the lakes kept their truly wild spirit – isn’t it exciting to know that the more remote parts of this big National park are still inhabited by the rare specieses like wolf (Canis Lupus), bear (Ursus arctos) and the bobcat (Lynx lynx)?
(Article continues below the pictures.)
|Year:||1988, partly renewed in 2006-2007|
|Size of map:||old map cca. 12km2, new map cca. 3km2|
|Mappers:||1988: Arne Dirdal and Mats Karlsson, 2006-2007: Ivan Nagy, Tomislav Kaniški, Ondřej Dostál (under the pseudonym Josef Marduk), Jan Drbal, Zdeněk Sokolář|
|Terrain type:||Karst terrain, stony, many depressions, in places low visibility|
|Estimated top speed:||7min/km|
|Interesting points:||The mapped area itself is hundreds of years old beech forest. Walking distance from the map it is possible to reach astonishing waterfall landscape and emerald green lakes.|
|Links of interest:||whole map at low resolution, OK Maksimir (the owning club), Plitvice lakes national park|
|Events on map:||Alpe Adria cup, Maksimir cup|
Please note that the map being presented in this article does not necessarily mean that it will also be included in the final selection of the 101 maps – and in the paper book. It only means it is currently on our candidate list. Please use the comment field below to give us your opinion about the map.
Why should/shouldn’t this map be on the list of the 101 maps? Do you know about another map with similar characteristics which should be chosen instead? Have you ever run on this map?