The Šumava double act, Stráský (left) and minister Chalupa
The controversial head of Šumava National Park, Jan Stráský, is to leave his post at the latest in August and perhaps as soon as June, according to information confirmed by the Ministry of Environment.
The ministry said that Stráský, who has enraged environmentalists by his actions at perhaps the country’s most famous national park, has always been counted on as a stopgap head who would serve in the position for a year or year-and-a-half. He is likely to be replaced by his current deputy, Jiří Mánek.
A June exit from the post for Stráský could avoid him being embroiled in another high-profile clash with environmentalists over repeat logging in park’s core protected area in a bid to counter the proliferation of the bark beetle. Skirmishes last year between environmental protesters, who argued that the measures were illegal and unnecessary, escalated on both sides with police eventually brought in to allow the logging to go ahead.
Four criminal complaints that the logging was illegal have been lodged with Czech authorities and are not being looked into, Czech Position reported at the start of May.
Stráský’s backing for the controversial logging, as well as a chemical campaign against the bark beetle, combined with a series of undiplomatic and not very environmental remarks won him a double prize at the end of April. An environmental group picked him out as the clear cut winner of its annual competition to find the polluter of the year and its verbal pearl award for the best, or worst, anti-environmental remark. Stráský had an unrivalled 13 nominations in that category.
Stráský, a former founder member of the center-right Civic Democrat party (ODS) and former deputy prime minister at the start of the 1990s, appeared to fit in well with current ODS environment minister Tomáš Chalupa in what often seemed like a double attack to attack green thinking and influences in the field and in the ministry.