Rules and advice
By respecting the wilderness and behaving adequately you will make your stay at the National Park more pleasant and comfortable. You should listen to a few tips and respect a certain number of rules. These are some of them.
BUILDING FIRES IS NOT PERMITTED. Fire spreads quickly in the dry area exposed to strong winds and is very difficult to extinguish due to inaccessible terrain. Use of fire is allowed only in designated fire places (currently available only at Štirovača)!
WALKING OUTSIDE THE MARKED TRAILS IS PROHIBITED. Many feet trample down the plant life, cause erosion and disturb wildlife. The soil on the mountain is shallow and very slow to recover. Help preserve it by sticking to the designated trails! Velika Kosa peak is a prime example of what happens when this rule is disobeyed.
CAMPING IS PROHIBITED. The Hospitality (Catering) Industries Act prohibits camping outside marked camping areas that meet the prescribed standards for campgrounds. Failure to observe this rule will result in Park Rangers taking appropriate actions!
PICKING PLANTS AND MUSHROOMS IS PROHIBITED. Do not pick plants or mushrooms or their parts so that other Park visitors may enjoy their beauty. Considering the number of visitors that come to the Park each year, the cumulative effect of each of them picking just one flower would be devastating!
NO LITTERING. There is increasing evidence that plastic items discarded into the environment release chemicals which act as sex hormones that disturb the natural reproductive cycles. In addition, plastics do not break down chemically, but under exposure to sun degrade into smaller particles that are harmful for microorganisms. Food remains discarded into the environment attract animals and they get used to expecting food from people. This may lead to wild animals getting too close to humans, a situation that is potentially dangerous for both the man and the animal. Please keep all litter with you and dispose of it properly once you leave the Park!
DOGS MUST BE KEPT ON A LEASH. Many dangers lurk for your pets in the Northern Velebit wilderness such as wild animals, nose-horned vipers, and the unpredictable terrain. Also, there are many enticing challenges such as hares, different rodents, bird nests, etc. To protect both your pets and the nature that you are visiting, keep the dogs on a leash at all times!
LOUD NOISE IS PROHIBITED. Sound travels very far in open landscape, especially on the mountain where sound reverberates against varied relief forms. Loud noise frightens the animals and disturbs their piece. A frightened animal will remain longer in shelter and may miss the best time for feeding, sunning and other vital activities. If this happens often, its health may be threatened further decreasing its chances for surviving the winter. In addition, noise may spoil the experience of nature for other visitors who wish to enjoy the silence and the sounds of nature. Therefore, please, make no unnecessary loud sounds, do not play loud music or make any other noise!
BE SURE TO TAKE ENOUGH WATER WITH YOU. A source of drinking water is available only in the Štirovača valley. The water from the cisterns at Alan and Zavižan mountain lodges is not always suitable for drinking. When hiking in the summer on open rocky ground, especially on ascending terrain, you should count with an increased need for water.
WEAR FIRM, ANKLE-HIGH SHOES. Rocky terrain requires suitable footwear that will stabilize your steps and lower the risk of injury. Ankle boots also provide good protection against snake bite.
BE SURE TO TAKE WARM CLOTHES AND A HEAD COVER. The weather in the mountain can change suddenly and at its worst may be very unpleasant or even dangerous. Therefore, it is always good to be prepared for unexpected gusts of cold air, wind, rain and fog. It is especially important to wear sun protection. Sun’s radiation is significantly stronger in the mountain than in the lowlands due to lower density of air. Sunny weather in the mountain can present a serious threat of sunstroke and sunburns, especially in light wind conditions, when you are less likely to immediately feel the impact of sun.
BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU STEP AND WHERE YOU PUT YOUR HANDS. The rocky ground is a favorite habitat for the nose-horned viper, the most venomous snake of Europe. Although they generally avoid humans, nose-horned vipers can sometimes be spotted basking on the paths, on rocks or tree branches. Therefore, always be careful where you step or reach with your hands. If you stumble upon a nose-horned viper, stay still and allow it to retreat, which it is most likely to do. If a person gets bitten, try to keep them calm and immobilize the affected limb. Call for help and make sure the victim moves as little as possible to slow the spread of venom through the body.
DO NOT APPROACH WILD OR DOMESTIC ANIMALS. If you encounter a wild animal, try not to frighten it. Even though you may want to see it better or take a photo, bear in mind that by approaching it too closely, you expose the animal to stress and cause it to unnecessarily lose precious energy in running away. In addition, some animals such as wild boar or bear can be dangerous for you, so if you encounter them, stay still. You can start moving backwards slowly to let the animal know that you have no intention of attacking it, but do not start running in a panic as this may prompt the animal to chase you. Under no circumstances should you try to approach cubs as the mother will be nearby and will do everything to protect them.
IF YOU HAVE TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE OPEN, DO NOT SLEEP AT THE BOTTOM OF A KARST SINKHOLE OR FIELD. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to spend the night in the open, do not try to descend to the bottom of a sinkhole or an enclosed field. In such places cold air gathers and they are usually several degrees cooler than the surrounding peaks. This may mean the difference between life and death! It is safer to choose a sheltered spot on an elevated position.
INFORM YOURSELF ABOUT THE WEATHER. Before your trip to Northern Velebit, be sure to inform yourself about the local weather forecast and the current weather conditions. For more detailed information about the current situation in the Park and the condition and status of roads and hiking routes, you can contact the Park management or the attendants at Zavižan and Alan mountain lodges at any time by phone or e-mail!
CHECK YOUR FUEL SUPPLY. There is no petrol station in Krasno and the nearest petrol stations are in Otočac (25 km) and Senj (35 km). Make sure to calculate the distance you are planning to drive and take a sufficient supply of fuel.