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Rozprawy i szkice

Tom 14 (2020)

Dla kogo Bieszczady? Janusza Rygielskiego wkład w dyskusję (lata siedemdziesiąte–wczesne lata osiemdziesiąte XX wieku)

  • Patrice M. Dabrowski
18 sierpnia 2021


The Bieszczady mountain range, a mere 0.2% of the territory of the Polish People’s Republic (PRL), was the only part of the country where a significant public dispute arose about its spatial development. The article presents the contributions of a man who almost singlehandedly initiated and stoked the discussion about the fate of this secondarily wild terrain, one of the wildest in Europe. Janusz Rygielski — scientist, journalist, tourist activist, and state bureaucrat — was in an ideal position to play a key role in the 1972 “conservationist” operation, which was begun on the pages of the Warsaw University of Technology’s student weekly Politechnik under the heading “We are discovering the Bieszczady again.” I intend to show that the social movements known as the second and third “discovery” of the Bieszczady would not have arisen without his efforts. A look through the prism of Rygielski’s activism allows to understand the single serious civic-student movement in defense of the mountains during the period of the PRL. Instead of domesticating — that is, developing — the Bieszczady like the rest of the country, Rygielski and his allies (students and others) wanted to appropriate the Bieszczady for individual tourism and in this way protect the positive aspects — that is, the wild nature — of this southeastern corner of the PRL.