The greenways ecotourism trail ‘Heritage of the East’ has not yet been signposted, but is designed and expected by the region’s residents. What is needed is community dialogue, engagement, innovative methodologies and funding to implement the first ideas that will give residents a sense of ownership and encourage institutions to develop the entire trail. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in domestic tourism, especially in less-traveled places. And this is a huge opportunity for the trail. At the same time, the war in Ukraine has been going on since February 2022, which has greatly changed the situation of the entire region, close to the Ukrainian border. All social and local government forces are at the moment directed towards helping refugees from Ukraine.
The aim of the project is to activate and strengthen civic engagement of the residents and to integrate refugees from Ukraine into the community of 8 villages in the eastern part of the Lublin Province. Together they will develop initiatives on the greenways ecotourism trail ‘Heritage of the East’, design sites and develop quests – educational field games. We are training local leaders and organising a study visit to Norway. Its participants will learn about the experience of sustainable tourism and the counteracting the climate change there. We are jointly developing 8 quests (in Polish and Ukrainian), organising 8 picnics with young people, 8 participatory site development projects and 8 mini initiatives of local residents. In 4 municipalities, draft local integration policies will be developed with guidelines for activities to facilitate the integration of new residents of the municipalities into the local community. The project partner is the Norwegian Haaskog farm, which will be a good inspiration for the Polish and Ukrainian participants in the project, as it operates in an attractive natural area whose potential has not yet been fully exploited.