920 million rubles of budgetary funds should be invested in the Toratau and Yangan-Tau Geoparks development in 2021–2022, of which about 435 million rubles for Yangan-Tau, the rest - for Toratau. These figures were announced at the Board of Trustees for Geoparks of the republic by the First Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Economic Development of the region Rustam Muratov.
"It is necessary to create an infrastructure, create a high-quality service, be engaged in landscaping and information support to make the Geopark a point of attraction for tourists. The Yangan-Tau Sanatorium has all five-star conditions for health tourism development. It is also necessary to create comfortable places for the ecotourism in the wild and roadside service facilities," the Head of Bashkortostan Radiy Khabirov said at the meeting.
It is proposed to assign the name "Geopark No. 1" to the Yangan-Tau Geopark. In addition to natural objects, the Geopark will include the Golden Nail Geology Museum, the Caravanserai Ethnographic Complex, the Salavat Yulaev Park, an organic farming center, a campus for students of an international geo-school, and a ski complex.
It is necessary to complete design work already in 2021 to begin constructing these points of attraction in 2022. The approximate amount of expenses will amount to 420 million rubles, the main part of which is laid down in the Republican targeted investment program. The facilities will be designed at the expense of the Yangan-Tau sanatorium. In the future, this will help to attract extra-budgetary investments, according to preliminary calculations, 30 billion rubles until 2024.
On July 10, 2020, at the 209th session of the UNESCO Executive Board, the Yangan-Tau Geopark was the first in Russia and the entire post-Soviet space to be included in the list of UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. It is a complex of geological, biological, historical, and cultural heritage sites. Geological objects of international importance are located here: the Mechetlino, Bolshaya Luka, Lakly sections, and Yangantau mountain. The material cultural heritage is represented by 32 archaeological monuments, of which nine are of national significance, including the Idrisovskaya cave site and Idrisovskaya Pisanitsa. The territory has a highly developed tourist infrastructure.
It is planned to create two eco-trails with stairs on the Toratau and Yuraktau Shikhans in the Geopark "Toratau".
A permanent visit center for 336 million rubles and six mobile visit centers will be built. 100 million rubles will be required for the construction of engineering infrastructure facilities on the Usolka River embankment. In total, 500 million rubles will be allocated to develop the Geopark in 2021–2022.
"Toratau still has a long way ahead before receiving international status. The nomination bid is being prepared. At the same time, it is necessary to work on a roadmap, to consider scientific, educational, and tourist destinations based on the Krasnousolsk sanatorium's capabilities. At the same time, the territory of "Toratau" is closer to the Ufa airport, and it can welcome tens of thousands of tourists from the CIS countries, near and far abroad. I think there should be a good scientific and educational component with the creation of an international geological school," Radiy Khabirov noted.
World practice shows that the emergence of geoparks means an increase in entrepreneurial activity in a given territory: tourists' flow can range from several thousand to 10 million (Zhangjiajie Geopark in China) people per year.
"At present, a pool of investment projects has been formed to create 39 facilities at the expense of private investors for a total of 806 million rubles, including 18 facilities in the Yangan-Tau Geopark for a total of 435 million rubles and 21 facilities for a total amount 371 million rubles in the Toratau Geopark," the First Deputy Prime Minister marked.