I have changed your username from NatureParkBulgarka to RobertSullivan1973, and your edits will now be credited to that name (this applies retroactively, too). --PeterTalk 10:13, 29 December 2010 (EST)
Thank you. A detailed version of Gabrovo will go up soon and after that I will start on some of the local sites in central Bulgaria and Nature Park Bulgarka itself. RobertSullivan1973 14:21, 29 December 2010 (EST)
No problem—keep up the good work ;) --PeterTalk 23:05, 4 January 2011 (EST)
I have standardized entries under "See" and "Eat" using the Listingify format. I feel the entry for the city is complete at this point. RobertSullivan1973
I feel mostly satisfied with the Bulgarka entry, though I will add to it in the future (as soon as I can find the information on the people renting horses and running the paintball operation). I am open to any suggestions, comments or observation and so on. RobertSullivan1973 09:40, 6 January 2011 (EST)
You are welcome, although it was all your work (as I didn't do anything but standardizing section headers and adding a few standard templates :-). And that's really some great work—in fact if you can write some more details about activities and create listings for restaurants, the article can be bumped up to "guide" status, and with some further styling work, it can be nominated as an Off the Beaten Path destination and featured at the main page for a month!
One very visible problem, though: per image policy, there shouldn't be recognizable faces in photos and I see quite a few of them at the pictures in the article. Is there any possibility that you replace them with ones that has no faces at them? – Vidimian 10:13, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I am still trying to find listings on the restaurants in the park (as compared to Gabrovo or Shipka) and independent of the hotels, in addition to specific information on the activities. I'll edit the photos. RobertSullivan1973 02:16, 7 January 2011 (EST)
Thanks for the new pics, they are well within the policy.
I've had a through read at the article, and I think it would be nice if these were added:
Get in. So, as far as I understand, this is a large park with villages in it. But no matter what, are there any gates or you just walk into the forest anywhere you like? (I'm asking this because of the photo of the park sign at "see" section, which made me think it stands next to a gate.) If there are gates indeed, near which towns they are located?
Do. Popular spots and typical prices for activities: watchtowers for birdwatching, possibility of horse "rental", where are the most popular sites/lakes for rock climbing and fishing?
Buy. Is there anywhere nearby which offers camping gear on sale?
Drink. Is there any bars/cafes out of villages and other than the restaurants themselves? If not, that should be noted as well.
Sleep. Are there any restrictions on wild camping (such as a requirement to follow Leave-no-trace camping or restricted areas)?
Stay safe. Are wildfires common? Since hunting seems to be a popular activity, what are tips to stay safe for non-hunters (such as months that hunting is forbidden, or most popular hunting spots so they can be avoided)?
Contact. What level of GSM coverage is available within the park? Where are the public payphones and postboxes are located, if available? Any business with internet access?
Get out. Trails completely within the park should be moved to "Do", perhaps with a sub-section named "Hiking".
I think that's all for now. There is no need for urgency, though—adding these will make the article better, but it's already good anyway. – Vidimian 11:00, 7 January 2011 (EST)
It is called a park but it functions more like a national forest in America, there is no controlled access. I mean, there are no gates on any of the roads.
There are no payphones on the grounds of the park, the villages have post offices drop boxes and I don't know about the GPS, but I've been told it work well. Cellphone work in most of the park, but coverage becomes spotty in some places, like deep valleys.
I can move around the trails, but only the eco trails are entirely in the park, the other cross out of the park.
I've not been able to find any specific info on the cafe/bars in the park, but I know some exist. I'll keep working on it. Most such cafe/bars are low key affairs, with little advertising and they cater to the locals.
The hotspots are mostly in the cities, Gabrovo and Kazanluk. There is not much of a nightlife in the park, the villages are too small. Staying in a hotel in Uzana overnight usually only happens in winter and several of the hotels in Uzana close for the summer.
I don't know about fees for horse rental as I've not been able to find contact info on the place, I've just been told it exists. The same is true for the bird watching tower. Also, there is only one large lake and there is no fee to fish at it.
Camping is legal, but they discourage it - there are bears, wolves and animals in the park, though no one has been killed or injured in decades. As far as I know, wildfires are not an issue. There are no local camping stores.
I've made some of the changes to the article you have suggested. RobertSullivan1973 04:28, 10 January 2011 (EST)
Hi Robert. I had been away from home and with no internet access for more than a week, so I couldn't have a chance to check out the article. Now that I'm back, I'll have a through read as soon as possible. – Vidimian 16:43, 19 January 2011 (EST)
Hi. I gave the article a read today. I see you have addressed all the issues above, except camper/hiker safety from hunting. I think this is an important issue if hunting is really that popular; even just telling the campers/hikers the hunting season would be a big improvement, I guess.
According to Wikitravel:Destination of the Month candidates (which is also the place for "Off the Beaten Path" nominations), any nominated article should have a status of at least "guide". A "guide" level park article, quoting from Wikitravel:Park guide status, should "Gives you different choices for which parts of the park to visit, and information on multiple attractions and things to do. Listings and layout closely match the manual of style. There will be multiple ways to get in and multiple accommodation listings (if applicable), some suggestions for moving out, and information on getting around." I think Nature Park Bulgaria article is quite ready for this, though a few minor points: Listings should be made conform to the examples given at Wikitravel:Listings (also check the links given for each different listing type there), and in addition, "sleep" listings need more information I think—phone numbers and prices are all good, but travellers using this article as a print-out will likely need more information on places for choosing where to spend the night. A price range is also necessary for "eat" listings. And it would be kind of nice if you could explain a bit about Baba Yaga, which/who is mentioned at "First Steps for Magician Beginners" trail listing at "do".
More importantly than these styling issues, the prose all over the article needs to be somewhat spiced up with a livelier tone, instead of the rather dry, encyclopedic tone that it now is.
Adding a map compatibly licensed with Wikitravel's copyleft, while not strictly a requirement, will substantially increase the likeliness of a successful OtBP nomination.
And as an aside, as you may possibly have seen by now, Wikitravel articles work in a hierarchical fashion. For example, since any international traveller to Nature Park Bulgarka will most likely read Bulgaria article first, we mention that they speak Bulgarian in the country in that article. Then, if regional dialects/accents differ substantially from standard Bulgarian, that should be noted at region article, i.e., Central Northern Bulgaria in this case. So, the "language" subsection of "understand" is unnecessary at Bulgarka's article. The same goes for "currency", too (and both headers don't conform to Wikitravel:Manual of style, anyway, they should have been "talk" and "buy" respectively). However, where the nearest banks with exchange facilities are is important information, so it should be kept, but moved to "buy". And if the local dialects/accents of the villages within the park differ from the ones of surrounding region (i.e., Central Northern Bulgaria), that should be noted as well, but in a section named "talk". The foreign languages spoken in the area is also valuable information, so that should be kept and moved to "talk" as well. – Vidimian 11:47, 25 January 2011 (EST)
I will continue to work on the article, updating the listings, finding a good map, and some other adjustments. I have already make an entry on the safety issue in terms of hunting, though to my knowledge no one in the park has been injured in a hunting related incident in years. In terms of the dry tone, I have to submit the article for approval to my superiors and the dry tone is easier to get approval for. RobertSullivan1973