De Alde Feanen National Park

Campsite It Wiid is situated in the middle of nature reserve De Alde Feanen. This reserve has been the 16th National Park of the Netherlands since February 2000. De Alde Feanen is 2187 hectare large. The area has been declared a National Park because it’s so valuable and deserves to be protected.

Sheets of water, peat holes, reed lands, quaking bogs, arid lands, marsh-marigold grasslands, and bluegrass lands can be found there. Various landscapes and vegetations can be found there, each with their own plant world and animal world. More than four hundred plant species and over a hundred species of summer birds have been encountered there.

The swamplands of Mid Friesland have long been known as the otter’s natural habitat. When it became clear that this mammal was about to become extinct in the Netherlands, the so-called Otter project was launched. The animal’s entire environment will have to be dealt with to enable reintroduction. The otter has thus become the symbol of a large-scale approach to nature and environment.

The area is best to be seen by boat. There is a course of navigation for small boats, with several jetties. There are also various hiking routes. Sailing and hiking excursions are organized regularly in the different districts: for example, with the solar energy boat the Blaustirns. Campsite It Wiid organizes some of these excursions together with It Fryske Gea in high season.

The otter is back at De Alde Feanen!

The otter is back at De Alde Feanen! On Friday 21 November 2015 a former employee of It Fryske Gea and otter specialist Tjibbe de Jong found otter excrements near Aldegea (Sm). The excrements are so-called spraints, also known as territorial marks,  which are left by an otter. The presence of the otter in De Alde Feanen is a jewel in the crown of  the manager of It Fryske Gea. It Fryske Gea has hugely improved the size and quality of this unique fenland. Several plant species and animal species have already profited from these improvements in the almost 4,000 hectares large area. The otter seems to appreciate the efforts as well. According to Piet de Wit, the head of land management at It Fryske Gea, the animal has had to risk its neck to cross over to this unique nature reserve. “The animal has probably come from the Weerribben, Wieden or Rottige Meenthe. Otters have been planted in these areas as part of the reintroduction project. More information can be found at the visitor centre of De Alde Feanen NP; right next to the campsite.

Podcast with Freek Vonk

In February 2015 Freek Vonk visited De Alde Feanen to record a podcast. Freek Vonk is a famous Dutch biologist and TV presenter who travels the world searching for extraordinary animals. The podcast consists of several sound fragments, which Freek uses to lead youths and adults through the reserve in his typical enthusiastic way. He is assisted by Germ van der Burg, District head Midden at It Fryske Gea. Kingfishers, bitterns, otters, spined loaches, and sea eagles, to name a few, are depicted in the podcast. Freek and Germ also devote special attention to peat pits, bluegrass lands, and ‘pompeblêden’ (leaves of water lilies).

The podcast is part of the  LIFE+ project ‘Booming Business’. The aim of the podcast is to enthuse young people about De Alde Feanen National Park in particular, and about nature in general. The podcast can be downloaded for free on www.np-aldefeanen.nl/boomingbusiness. The podcast is also available on  iTunes and TOURtoDO (tourcode PodcastFreekVonk). The audio navigation route is suitable for Android, Apple en Windows devises.

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