Protect the Valdanos bay-Montenegro

The Valdanos Bay is a national treasure in Montenegro. In 1968 it was declared a natural monument. The 18,000 olive trees on its cove - with an average age of 800 years - were placed under the "special care of the state," while the waters surrounding it were declared archeologically significant.

However, the olive trees of this magnificent bay have been undergoing tragic decay for the past 33 years. More than 70% of the trees have been devastated by the lack of care, overgrown with bushes and shrubs. This neglect has continued since the Government assumed control of the olive grove six years ago. Instead of returning the property to its rightful owners - as it had promised while the property was still under the control of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and later the Yugoslav Army (VJ) - the government is now trying to lease this most beautiful, 3.4-million square meter bay on the Montenegrin coast. They are attempting to lease the land in this area for 18 cents a square meter (or 660,000 euros a year)! This is at least three times less than the earnings that the original owners could have received from tending to the olive grove and processing its products (olives, oils, etc). The state also will loose out on tax receipts from such production.
Of the two companies that contested the tender for the lease of Valdanos Bay, the Montenegrin government chose a firm that did not fulfill a single tender condition, is operating with losses and lacks the money to either build a supposedly exclusive resort or to take care of the olive trees that are there.
Therefore, we the undersigned,
1. Call on the Montenegrin government to respect the law and tender procedures and halt this damaging deal.
2. Ask the Parliament of Montenegro and other state authorities to prevent another unnecessary scandal with unforeseen consequences.
3. Demand that Valdanos Bay, as a unique landscape alongside Mendra and Mavrijan, be protected so that it can remain what it has been for centuries: a natural park, picnic and swimming area for all citizens of Montenegro and our guests.
4. Urge the necessarily revitalization and restoration of the most famous olive grove on the Montenegrin coast.
Demand that the gate at the entrance of Valdanos be immediately removed to allow all those who want to freely admire its beauty enjoyment of this public treasure.

Valdanos, with its revived olive groves and rededication towards sustainable cultural and ecological tourism it can once again become the pride of Montenegro and all its citizens.

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