An Ardent Fighter for Nature

People in the district are slowly getting used to the fact that Zalishchyky has become home to the headquarters of the National Nature Park Dnister Canyon. This is a great honor for the community and an obligation to preserve the beautiful stretches of land along the Dnister and its tributaries for over 250 km.

The idea of the national park has a long history. In the 1930s, individual nature reserves were created in the territories adjacent to the Dnister. However, the most systematic and target-specific work was carried out by an ardent fighter for nature preservation, Mykola Chaikovskyi.

Mykola Chaikovsky was born on September 2, 1922, in the Vinnytsia Region. From 1949 to 1967 he worked as a forester in various locations at the south of the Ternopil Region. From 1967, when the regional nature protection inspectorate was created, M. Chaikovskyi joined it. His fascination with nature inspired his excellent work. His research papers touch upon the issues of archeology, regional study, literature, art, social forecasting, and much more.


M. P. Chaikovskyi, 1985, a photo from the family archive

M. Chaikovskyi initiated and assisted in the formation of the nature reserve fund in the region. The fund grew from 130 locations in 1970 to 543 locations in 2006. M. Chaikovskyi personally prepared draft resolutions of regional executive authorities for almost all of the above locations (over 500).

The so-called botanical circlet renowned all over Ukraine (Obizhevo, Zhyzhava, Kryve, Kasperivskyi) was recognized as nature reserve due to M. Chaikovskyi, as well as Glody and Zalishchytska Dibrova areas and several dozens of other locations. As of 2008, the nature reserve fund in the district included 62 locations. Most of them acquired their conservation status due to M. Chaikovskyi.
However, Mykola Petrovych realized only too well that individual isolated locations could not fully represent the unique nature on the Dnister banks. Thus, he concluded that a national park was required as an organization which does not estrange men from nature, but establishes civilized relations between them.

In 1972, the first interregional meeting devoted to formation of the Dnister National Park in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Chernivtsi and Khmelnytskyi Regions was held in Zalishchyky. The relevant documents were prepared and submitted to the State Nature Committee of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

On November 14, 1977 the executive committee of the Ternopil Regional Deputies' Council passed a resolution "Concerning the formation of Dnister State Natural Park and Development of Tourism in the Region".

The park existed until November 19, 1984. According to the new classification, it became a state landscape reserve of local significance. However, the recreational pressure on the environment near the Dnister was growing, and a state natural landscape park "Dnister Canyon" with the area of 42,084 ha was created in 1990 based on resolutions of Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk regional authorities. However, M. Chaikovskyi's dream really came true in 2010, when National Nature Park "Dnister Canyon" with the area of 10,829 ha was created by order of the President of Ukraine. Let us hope that the staff of the newly formed organization will keep up the good work of Mykola Chaikovskyi.

It has been a year since Mykola Chaikovskyi left this world for a better one. Yet, he is still remembered by the old trees, unique plants, and unearthly rocks above the Dnister. We all owe him for the possibility to observe the Dnister Canyon's inimitable beauty while hiking or rafting through the Canyon.

Olexandr Vikyrchak – head of Science Department of NNP "Dnister Canyon"
(Special thanks for the materials provided by M. Chaikovskyi's daughter, S. Slipchenko, and I. O. Pyatkivskyi)