Lake Salda, whose pristine beaches and “White Islands” near the shore are a primary attraction for thousands of tourists every year, is expected to see some restrictions as authorities seek to preserve the famed lake.
An area of the lake near the islands, the most popular spot in this body of water in the western province of Burdur, will be open to only 540 visitors at a time. This could reduce the number of about 1.5 million tourists who descend to the lake known as “Turkey’s Maldives.” Authorities believe that it will also curb the pollution problems.
A report in the Hürriyet newspaper says that the Ministry of Environment and Urban Development drafted a plan to that end, and is studying how best to preserve the area. It aims to cut the number of around 1.5 million visitors down to 600,000 or less. Minister Murat Kurum earlier announced that they were working to preserve the area covering the White Islands, which is near a coastal strip of about 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles). The garbage left behind by visitors and people trying to drive on the undisturbed white sands of the shore has raised concerns in recent years.
Authorities have taken a string of measures, including setting up barriers to prevent vehicle access and moving makeshift structures built near the coast further away from the beach. The ministry now plans to install elevated walking lanes and a viewing terrace in the area to prevent visitors from damaging the coast. It also plans to relocate a nearby parking lot further away from the beach, to ensure pedestrian access only. A camera surveillance system was also installed in the area, while farmers in nearby villages were banned from draining water from wells with water supplied from the lake, for irrigation purposes.
Lake Salda recently hit the headlines when NASA mentioned it as a place that shares the characteristics of a Mars crater which Perseverance Rover landed on earlier this month in search of ancient microbial life on the red planet.
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