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Let Nature Take Its Course in Russia's Valley of the Geysers, says World Wildlife Fund

Kamchatka, Russia—Following today’s discussion of dynamiting or using heavy machines to remove landslide mud and debris from Kamchatka’s Valley of the Geysers at a special commission meeting in the capitol of Kamchatka, World Wildlife Fund states that natural transformation of the valley must take its course.

 

Most of the geysers are submerged under the water now rising behind the mud and debris from a June 3 landslide that blocked the Geyser River in Kamchatka’s Valley of the Geysers, part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trails where tourists once observed the geysers are now floating like rafts in the lake. 

 

“World Wildlife Fund believes we must let nature take its course,” said Laura Williams, director of World Wildlife Fund’s Kamchatka office in Russia. “While many people would like to see the Valley in its original glory, the birth of the new valley—or lake—that is now taking shape is no less interesting from a scientific and naturalist's perspective.

 

“This is part of the dynamic natural evolution in Kamchatka where there’s many unique and interesting features—volcanoes, thermal hot springs, fumeroles, and wild untouched nature—for visitors to explore.

 

“Scientists and journalists should be allowed to monitor and document the changes now occurring in the Valley in careful coordination with park management. As a World Heritage Site, WWF believes that Russians and the international community have a right to witness the amazing transformation of the Valley of the Geysers.”

 

Scientists say dynamiting or the use of heavy machinery in the valley should not be allowed because the area is a strict nature reserve created to observe natural processes and the landslide is a natural process, presenting an opportunity to witness the transformation of the earth.  Many birds, bears and other animals would be disturbed if such drastic human alteration of the Valley were to go forward.

 

 

The world-famous Valley of the Geysers in Kamchatka’s Kronotsky Nature Preserve was one of only five places on Earth where a concentration of geysers punch holes through the Earth’s crust to spew boiling water and steam skyward. The four other places are in Yellowstone National Park, Chile, celand and New Zealand.

 

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Known in the United States as World Wildlife Fund and recognized worldwide by its panda logo, WWF leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats and to conserve the diversity of life on Earth. Now in its fifth decade, WWF, the global conservation organization, works in more than 100 countries around the world.

 

Note to Editors:

A high-resolution photograph of the last eruption of the geyser and subsequent flood of the valley as well as low-resolution photographs of the mud-filled valley are available to accompany press stories based on this release and mentioning World Wildlife Fund. If used, appropriate credit must also be given to the photographer.