Lagodekhi Protected Area: Project begins to curb extinction

The ravine Ninoskhevi, which is the part of Lagodekhi protected area in the mist. Photo by Agency of protected areas., 13 Aug 2015 - 16:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s oldest protected area boasting rare and endangered species is the focus of a major project that will bring new life to the area.

Developments are in place to transform Lagodekhi Protected Area in the eastern Kaheti region into a popular spot for nature enthusiasts while growing the dwindling population of endangered species.

The Caucasus Nature Fund has teamed up with the Cartu Group to implement several developments over the next few years. This includes:

  • Major restoration of the Visitors Centre and Administration Building;
  • Development and maintenance of more than 50km of trails;
  • Improved monitoring and patrolling of the national park, new patrol vehicles, GPS units and camera traps;
  • Building new paths.

Another main point of the developments at Lagodekhi Protected Area was to support the local wildlife and encourage population growth of engendered species.

The alpine valleys of the nature park are home to chamois, East Caucasian tur and red deer, all of which are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List

Forest at the sub-alpine zone of the area. Photo by Georgian Agency of protected areas. 

The Caucasus Nature Fund is an organisation that improves the management of the national parks and nature reserves of the South Caucasus by providing financial support and building tools.

The Fund has supported the protected area since 2001 to curb species extinction in the park. Specifically, between 2011 and 2017, a grant of €540,000 (1.4 million GEL) has been allocated to developing the area.

The Lagodekhi Protected Area was first established in 1912 and was originally protected under the Russian Empire. It encompassed the Lagodekhi Nature Reserve and the Managed Nature Reserve, a combined area of 24,451 ha.

Mountainious lake at the Lagodekhi Protected Area. Photo by Georgian agency of protected areas.

The nature reserve encompasses diverse landscapes that extend from 590- 3500 metres in altitude, with a combination of rivers and waterfalls that flow from high in the mountains into the woods of the forest below.

Black Rocks Lake in the fall. Photo by Georgian agency of protected areas.

In Lagodekhi Protected Area nature surrounds you and guests can stay in guesthouses or bungalows right on the Azerbaijan border.

Black Rocks Lake is one of the most popular destinations of the area. Photo by Georgian agency of protected areas.

While there tourists are welcome to take the five different trails to the Grouse Waterfall, the Ninoskhevi Waterfall, the 11th Century Machi Castle, Black Rock Lake or venture around the park. Hiking and horse riding are among the activities that visitors are able to enjoy at the reserve.