The Goričko Park management institution is the only protected area management institution in Pomurska region; therefore it can not be addressed as a »good practice« but more as the only such practice in the region. The strengths as well as problems of this management institution are briefly presented.
The project of protecting Goričko area started after Slovenian independency and was politically initiated after the fall of the “iron curtain” in order to support the cross border cooperation. In 1992 they have gained EU funds for the castle renovation on the basis of the idea on trilateral park. The castle renovation is currently partially solved but the actual content is still missing. Officially the Goričko castle is the center of the trilateral (Slovenia, Hungary, Austria) protected area.
The establishment of the park was supported by all the municipalities on the basis of the initial debate among mayors and local councillors. In the beginning the local population was not included in the dialogue although some people did sense the opportunity in park establishment. In 2003 the park became an official institution.
The biggest problem of the park is fast overgrowing of the agricultural land in the east of the park where agriculture is widely abandoned. Another problem connected to lands is the land ownership structure – the small plots of land which are typical for the area (as a consequence of historical land division and legacy) are the cause for the excellent state of habitats but on the other hand on these small sized parcels the use of agricultural motorization is not possible and this fact is one of the most important ones for locals to stop farming. People who would like to work as farmers are few and many farmers in the area are facing financial problems.
The role of park management institution is also to help the local population within the park boundaries – namely the locals ask for specific advises and through such communication the idea of the protected area and its benefits are also infiltrated into the social value system.
Overall the area of the park is facing demographic problems such as prevailing old population as well as migrants (from the area of Goričko!) who used to work abroad and are now, after retirement, returning to live in the area but they have already abandoned agriculture which is crucial to support the maintenance of the cultural landscape, areas of Natura 2000 etc. More positive impact had/have the British migrants who arrived to Goričko and most of them managed to renovate old abandoned houses in a traditional way; some of them also started to work in tourism and it is them who are warning that the local products offer in the area does not meet the actual demands.
From the park management institution point of view most problematic is their actual role, their competence as well as their obligations. They also see the need to strengthen the nature protection survey.
Park as an institution is still not accepted as an institution of regional importance; the development creators are still the municipalities. Nevertheless the park employees see their role in the education development, in tourism and agriculture development as well as in other activities such as research and small business.