Efforts by mountaineers, climbers and non-governmental organization to block plans for establishing a mining and quarry facility in the Dedegöl Mountain and Kuzukulağı plain in the western province of Isparta have finally paid off and the authorities decided that the mountain should be part of the nearby Kızıldağ National Park.
Previously a mining license had been issued for the Dedegöl Mountain which is home to one of Turkey’s longest rock climbing tracks and the fourth deepest cave in the country.
The mining activities would pose serious and irreversible threats to the mountain itself, tourism activities, animal breeding and farming operations in the area, the climbers and environmentalists argued.
Initially rock climbing instructors Mustafa Kalaycı and Öztürk Kayıkçı had applied to the authorities, demanding that the Dedegöl Mountain be part of the Kızıldağ National Park. A number of associations and NGO also mobilized to support the initiative. As part of the efforts to block the possible mining operations in the area, an outdoor sport festival was organized in the Kuzukulağı plain with the participation of hundreds of people.
Under pressure from climbers and NGOs, the directorate of nature conservation and national parks decided to look into the matter.
A detailed report documenting the rock climbing tracks, the water basin resources, monumental trees within an area of 35,000 hectares was submitted to the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry.
Finally, with a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on Nov. 27, the Dedegöl Mountain was included to the Kızıldağ National Park that ultimately saved the mountain from the dangers of the possible mining operations.
The Dedegöl Mountain became a center for mountain sports in early 2000s. It started to attract climbers also from other countries. Local and international teams also discovered Turkey’s fourth deepest cave in the area.
Thousands of people flock to the Kuzukulağı plain for rock climbing, mountaineering, tour skiing, hiking, camping, cycling and motocross activities all the year round.
The Dedegöl Mountain and the Kuzukulağı plan is also home a number of endemic plants.
In February this year, Yılmaz Sevgül, an academic at the Institute of the Sports Sciences at Akdeniz University and a supervisor of the non-profit Search and Rescue Association (AKUT) for the Antalya province, said that the rock formations in the Dedegöl mountain range were as “valuable” as El Capitan, which is one of the world’s largest granite monoliths above Yosemite Valley in California in the United States.