History and Land Use PDF Print E-mail

Before the 1922 Agrarian Reform, part of the Retezat Massif used to be a hunting area of the Royal House, administered by the Department of Royal Hunting, sole property of the Romanian State and baron Kendeffy.   

A short history of the past management reveals the evolution of the property/use right over the lands in the Retezat area :
1923 – most of the alpine pastures are transferred, by expropriation decided according to the Agrarian Reform, to some villages/communes, in order to be used for grazing, with certain restrictions, decided upon in 1935, when the foundation of the RNP. The Administrator of these pastures was the Agricultural Council of Hunedoara County, according to the instructions given by the Department Of Dependant Everglades of the Ministry of Agriculture.  
1927 – according to the minutes of July 17, the Agricultural Council of Hunedoara County transfers to the Botanical Museum of Cluj Napoca about 1500-1800 acres of land in the area Aradea, Zanoguta in order to be included into the Retezat National Park. The exact location of this area is not known. 
1931 – The Autonomous Administration of State Forests (AASF) took over the administration of the forestry fund, which used to sole property of the Romanian State and baron Kendeffy.   
Before the foundation of the Retezat National Park, the area used to be  a chamois hunting reserve, belonging to the Royal House, being administered by the Department of Royal Hunting, which “bound itself to grant it a maximum protection.” 
1935 - Retezat National Park is founded over an area of 100 km2.
1947- through the law of forestry fund protection, forests become state property, a decision confirmed by the nationalization of 1948.
1955 – the scientific reserve Gemenele – Tau Negru, is founded over an area of 1840 ha.
1955 – The Commission for the Protection of Nature Monuments, alongside with the Agricultural Department of Hunedoara decide upon the areas of complete interdiction of grazing.  
Landowners populated lake Zanoaga and Raul Mare with trout even before the Park was founded. The custom of populating alpine lakes and streams was carried on by the administrators of the hunting areas even after 1948, as well as by the silvicultural districts.  
The Romanian Academy populated the alpine zone with marmots in 1973.
As to grazing, there are proofs there were attempts at regulating it as early as last century. In the beginning of the 20th century, there is a tendency of reducing the sheep stock grazing on the alpine pastures, which used to be around 30.000 animals every year. Sheep grazing was prohibited in the lake areas, in order to protect the favorite areas of the chamois. 
It is also in the beginning of the century that for the first time cattle grazing is experimented starting on the Slavei pasture.
On the area declared National Park, grazing was allowed only “for the cattle and horses belonging to the landowners, sheep being totally excluded, as well as the possibility of renting the pastures to communes other than those at the feet of the Retezat, who were given property rights within the Retezat area, or other persons than the actual landowners”, as mentioned in the Minutes of Park foundation.
Between 1986 and 1990 alpine pastures were administered by the forest districts. In this period, silvicultural and grazing agreements are made, in order to regulate grazing. 
After 1990 pastures were again overtaken by the local councils, and on most of them nobody observed any longer the provisions of the silvicultural and grazing agreements. The pastures were rented by their administrators to other people than the legal owners.  Pasture administrators could not have an efficient control of the grazing, which often lead to overgrazing.   

In the beginning of the 20th century, along the Valley of Lapusnicului Mare wood harvesting, was carried out, the logs being floated down the river. According to the witnesses of the time, namely people working with the silvicultural administration, the massive deforesting done in those years was not always followed by afforesting, particularly because of the tough conditions and the lack of work force. 
Log floating down the river imposed the building of dams called „zatoni” on the Lapusnicului Mare. Up to Gura Bucurei, their remnants are still present. 
The management of the forests outside the 1935 area of the National Park , but included in the Park area after 1990, has been done according to the silvicultural norms and the provisions of silvicultural management in force at the time. 
After 1990, after the Park was extended, pursuant to Order 7 of the Ministry of Waters, Forests and Environment Protection, the management of the forests is done according to the functional zones of the silvicultural management areas.    
In 1946 large fires affected the right technical slope of Lapusnicului Mare, and in the 60’s wind felled trees in the Retezat Scientific Reserve. At first, the felled trees were taken out, for fear the Ipidae attack might extend, but no afforesting was done. The area is at present well regenerated. On another area of the Scientific Reserve, also affected by wind felling, the trees were left on the spot. The Ipidae attack did not extend and the regeneration was very intense. 

Tourism has been practiced as early as the 30’s of the last century, as proved by the map elaborated by the Romanian Touring Club in 1936, showing  Pietrele Chalet, property of the Clubs and being used for tourist purposes. 

In the year 2008 the surface of the RNP is 38.138 ha.