River Code

Autor: dr Wiesław Nowicki    

A code how to behave on the river. First of all when planning a trip to the Vistula or swimming in it, we must remember that WE ARE NOT AT HOME, but that we are visiting Mother Nature. Birds and other creatures living by and in the river ARE AT HOME. That is why we must respect their right to tranquillity. That means that:

    • we do not turn up on islands and islets that are isolated by water from the riverbanks, especially in spring and summer, i.e. during the birds’ nesting season,
    • if we drive to the river, then we leave the car relatively far from the Vistula’s riverbanks, preferably before the anti-flooding dyke; it is reprehensible, and in fact punishable, to have rallies in 4xwheel vehicles and on motorbikes by the Vistula, or to wash cars in the river,
    • especially in spring and summer, we should behave in a quiet manner, we should not destroy the greenery and we should not trample down the undergrowth and make new tracks,
    • we should not take our four legged friends for a walk by the river, unless they are on a leash at all times,
    • apart from the designated areas, we should not go to Vistula’s bird reservoir regions, and we should not do water sports, paragliding or motor gliding, etc., on their grounds,
    • we should not light campfires and leave rubbish by the river, we should not leave glass objects, during drought periods we should never leave an open fire, despite the fact that water is nearby – it is easy to start a fire in nesting woods,
    • we should exclude any alcohol with meals – it had been the cause of many tragedies in the water, not only in Warsaw’s Vistula River,
    • we categorically should not walk on the river when it is covered with ice, nor should we swim in it in summer, although the latter can be performed as an exception only under professional supervision,
    • we should adhere to the ‘old’ principle known to all tourists, that we leave the place where we had been in a state no worse than when we first found it.

Singing of the birds and unforgettable observations of other wildlife living by the Vistula in Warsaw and the environs will no doubt reward you for adhering to the long list of bans listed above.

The project ‘Protecting the habitats of priority bird species of the Vistula Valley under conditions of intensive pressure of the Warsaw agglomeration’ (wislawarszawska.pl) has received a grant from the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE+) and from the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.