“Parks in the forest”: how to equip the favorite places of recreation for the inhabitants of the Moscow region – Pronunciations – reports and analyzes

By 2023, 19 forest parks will be equipped in the Moscow region – work will be carried out under the Forest Parks program. It has been operating in the region since 2021 and its launch is quite understandable: forests and forest parks occupy almost half of the Moscow region. Within 5 years, under the program, 50 parks will be built in the forests near Moscow, where the residents of the area will be able to spend their free time comfortably and safely. Read more about the Forest Parks program in the RIAMO material.

With care for nature

The Parks in the Forest program, which is operating for the second year in the Moscow region, covers those areas of the forest fund in municipalities that are popular with the locals, but have not yet been formed. An important condition for their renewal is that the interventions in nature during the work are minimal.

By law, forest parks and forests are not considered urban areas, so nothing can be built there. This means that all structures that have been installed as part of the Parks in the Forest program must be collapsible.

Among other things, it is planned to install entrance groups with parking spaces in forest parks, the construction of sidewalks and bike paths (the latter can become ski slopes in winter), as well as the placement of playgrounds, sports or theme playgrounds. Lighting, video surveillance and excursions to forest parks will be organized, as well as toilets, trash cans and benches for relaxation.

In mid-February, Moscow Regional Governor Andrey Vorobyov said that by 2023, it was planned to build 19 forest parks in the Moscow region as part of the Forest Parks program.

“This approach has been approved by both the president and the government. And today we have the right to build paths and toilets in the parks, which is fundamental. Provision of infrastructure. “Winter is skiing, summer is cycling,” Vorobyov said.

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Improvement according to plan

As previously mentioned by the Minister of Improvement of the Moscow Region, Mikhail Khaikin, as part of the “Parks in the Forest” program, those forest areas where “people are already walking” are being put in order.

“These forest park areas, as a rule, are adjacent to residential urban areas, which are already used by people on a daily basis. “We make those walking places more comfortable and safer that people have already identified and used themselves,” Khaikin said.

The improvement project included Olginsky Forest Park in Balashikha, Tomilinsky Forest Park in Dzerzhinsky, Domodedovo Urban Forest, Istra Forest and Forest Park near Vladimir Dolgikh Gym in Istria, Sharikha Forest Park in Klin, Opalikh Forest Park in Krasnogorsk, in the Vidnovsky forest in the Leninsky district and in other areas. In February, public hearings on their projects took place in the Moscow region. Based on the results of the meetings with the residents, the experts will develop ideas for the improvement of the forest parks.

After the works in the forest parks there will be the possibility of cycling and skiing. Sports equipment rental will open there, sports venues and benches will appear. Work will begin in 2022 and will be completed next year.

“The main feature of the improvement of forest areas is the minimal intervention in nature. “When improving forest parks, it is important not only to create the best conditions for a comfortable stay, but also to preserve the natural environment,” Mikhail Khaykin explained.

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“Great advantage for infrastructure”

According to experts interviewed by RIAMO, forest parks, located within the city limits, are a classic landscaping technique. In this form, natural recreation areas acquire new functions without losing their authenticity.

“Creating new parks from the beginning is difficult: it takes time for the trees to grow and planting large trees is expensive. In addition, squirrels and birds are quite selective for their habitats, which is why they are found in the forests “, says the urban planner Elena Pudova.

In this regard, the project “Parks in the Forest” can only be welcomed, says Marina Lashkevich, a leading expert at BuyBuyHouse. According to her, the presence of modern recreation areas, bike paths, recreation and sports areas will only improve the infrastructure of cities. Therefore, the presence of such parks will be a big plus for any area where they appear.

“Modern residents of cities and towns near Moscow, summer residents need quiet places in nature and the presence of a park nearby immediately increases the popularity of the place, the price of real estate increases there,” explains the head of the Department of Housing D and Financial Instruments of the Real Estate Market of the University of Finance under the Government of Russia Alexander Tsyganov.

As an example, he mentions the village of Zakharovo near Moscow, located next to the mansion park, which is part of the State Historical and Literary Museum-Pushkin Reserve. The cost of houses near the park is 25-30% higher than in settlements at a distance of 2-3 km from it. Another similar example is the Virazhy Park along the Rublevo-Uspenskoye highway, where it is now comfortable to walk and spend time. Previously, there was dust from the constantly passing cars and rather overgrown, full of garbage.

“Therefore, the arrangement of new forest parks in Balashikha, Tomilino, Domodedovo and other cities in the Moscow region is a really necessary measure for the development of the region, with the aim of creating a comfortable urban environment, so that the park is close to in every home. “, Concludes Alexander Tsyganov.

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Environmental factor

However, like any project, experts also find some disadvantages in Forest Parks. According to Elena Pudova, the program could lead to a breach of the fragile ecological balance, creating unfavorable conditions for animals living in forests.

“It is necessary to follow a very subtle approach to design, identifying future locations at natural edges and glades in the forest. “It is also recommended for such parks to use natural materials for all infrastructure facilities,” says the expert.

In turn, Marina Lashkevich predicts possible problems with the coordination of work in the forests. She points out that even at the development stage of the project, the authorities spoke of minimal intervention in nature.

“It’s not smoke without fire: lately we often see conflicts between environmentalists and landscaping experts. However, defining the line between ecosystem intervention and infrastructure improvement is a difficult task, but solvable, “said the RIAMO interlocutor.

According to Lashkevich, it is necessary to adopt a responsible approach to working with the infrastructure of forest areas and not to forget the birds and animals that have lived there for many years. However, as the expert notes, today the country is far from the 90s, when all the “improvements” of infrastructure were limited to counters and cheap restaurants. Now the parks are becoming really comfortable and practical.

“Nature’s burden is increasing. It is important to provide both comfort to humans and the preservation of natural diversity. “The arrangement of forest parks is a perfectly justified and necessary measure that will reduce the burden on the forest outside the paths and the special areas for eating and active games”, says Alexander Tsyganov.

He considers inevitable the increase of the number of visitors in the forests and the pressure in the natural environment possible disadvantages of the project “Parks in the Forest”. However, this process also continues – and the presence and strict adherence to rules of conduct in parks should minimize the potential, but by no means mandatory, environmental damage.

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