The Lake Bafa Natural Park draws nature enthusiasts with its observation terraces that have been built for visitors to observe the species of birds and plants that find shelter in the region.
The observation terraces built in the Lake Bafa Natural Park, which is home to rich biological diversity in terms of species of birds and plants, have contributed to the increase in the number of visitors.National Parks Mugla Branch Director Kamil Uslu said Mugla had many protected areas and its nature park is visited by nearly 2 million tourists every year.
He said one of the most important protected areas was Lake Bafa and the Nature Park and added, “It is home to unique natural beauties, biological diversity and many species of birds and fish. We explain this value to visitors and try to protect the area.” Uslu said they had been working on projects to introduce natural parks in the region and draw more visitors and that Lake Bafa park is among the wetlands with international importance.
Uslu said while protecting the areas in the region, they were keeping them open for people to enjoy, adding, “Our main principle is that nature is for humans. A natural area is nothing if people cannot make use of it. The Directorate of Nature Conversation and National Parks Mugla Branch has built observation terraces in the nature park. Visitors are able to observe Lake Bafa and the wild animals living on the islets in the lake.”
Uslu said Lake Bafa was part of the Aegean Sea until the 3rd century and later it separated from the sea and became a lake. “The natural park is home to 261 species of birds, 22 species of reptiles and 19 species of mammals. The lake and its vicinity provide a habitat for many species of birds, which are under threat of extinction, for their reproduction,” he said.
He said Bafa was one of the lakes in Turkey with one of the youngest ecosystem structures, and that its cultural and historical structures and rich biological diversity have increased the value of the region.Uslu said the ancient cities of Heraclea and Latmos were also within the borders of the natural park and those areas were first degree archaeological sites.
“The Lake Bafa is a place of accommodation, especially for migratory birds. As well as local migratory species, the birds that migrate to African and Middle Eastern countries come to the lake to rest. We have determined various endemics in the forested areas around the lake. The area is home to many species of orchids. The lake has many areas for terrestrial and aquatic species for their nutrition, nesting and sheltering,” said Uslu.
He said the islets in the lake were also very important for aquatic birds. “The bottom structure of the lake is rich in terms of plant species. This is why snakefish and sea snakes can live there. The lake’s flora has a population of various plant species that are rare in Turkey. The Besparmak Mounts, where we can see hundreds of plant species, is home to mullein, which is a world endemic species, as well as 12 orchid species.”