Cases 14:30 12 Dec 2023

Dark Sky Park and the living memory of a soldier: Ukrainian scouts help tourists in the Lviv region and honor a comrade

Friends and relatives of the fallen soldier found a way to preserve his memory by continuing his work and implementing a socially useful project. Rubryka tells about the creation of a shelter in the Ukrainian Carpathians in honor of the hero.

What is the problem?

Hiking in the mountains can be dangerous even for experienced tourists, especially in the cold season. In the Lviv region, tourists going on mountain hikes to the Skole Beskids National Nature Park often cannot correctly calculate the time and, returning, do not have time to descend to the settlement at dawn. People must camp out in the open for the night or call park officials for assistance.

What is the solution?

A new tourist shelter was opened on Mount Paraska, located in the Skole Beskids, on the route with the most significant flow of tourists. The mountain house became not only a place where people could rest, wait out bad weather, and spend the night but also a living memory of the fallen defender of Ukraine. The TT Shelter, as the tourist shelter was named, was built in honor of soldier Taras Havrylyshyn, who died on November 1, 2022, during the liberation of the Kherson region.

How does it work?

In memory of a friend and hero

прихисток ТТ у горах

TT mountain hub on Mount Paraska.

Taras-Timofii Havrylyshyn (the scout nickname "TT" (TeTe) and the military callsign "Harry") defended Ukraine in the 45th separate artillery brigade. A long-time scout leader and leader of marine scouting, an instructor in navigation and astronomy, died near Kherson, liberating the city from the Russian invaders. Havrylyshyn was awarded the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine award and the Iron Cross posthumously.

"Taras and I have known each other since 2002 from the scouting sea camp, and after that, we jointly organized water camps and rafting trips for children and youth almost every summer and every spring," recalls Yuliia Hvozdovych, a scout and public activist, who became the coordinator of the mountain shelter project. In general, Havrylyshyn has been in Plast, the largest Scouting organization in Ukraine, since 1997, and at that time, he volunteered every year, raising strong and conscious young Ukrainians through Plast classes at actions, trainings, and camps, even leading some of those activities. Besides being engaged with Plast, Havrylyshyn also built ships (Cossack Seagulls), crossed the Black Sea on them, marked tourist routes, and was a mountain tourist guide. "We loved and respected him very much for his professionalism, cheerfulness, wonderful and unique sense of humor. It was always safe with him," Hvozdovych shared with Rubryka.

Plast is a National Scout Organization of Ukraine which aims to provide Ukrainian youth with the skills needed to develop Ukraine, as based on the Scout Law and the Scout Promise. It is the most numerous scouting and youth organization, that unites over 7000 children and 2500 adults. Before the war, Plast was present in over 140 cities in Ukraine.

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The hut in the mountains was built in honor of the fallen defender Taras Havrylyshyn.

Even before the war, Havrylyshyn dreamed of a tourist hut on Mount Paraska. Fellow geographers of Plastun say that this was one of the first peaks he conquered, which he loved very much, and he even professionally marked the paths for tourists there.

Once at the campfire, Havrylyshyn, who was already at the front, shared his ideas and dreams with his comrades and expressed the opinion that, if something happens to him, he would like to be buried on Mount Paraska and for his friends to build a shelter for travelers there. He began to build a mountain hut during his lifetime, but unfortunately, the place is unknown. "When we heard the sad news about his death and his comrades passed on his last will, we had no choice. We just couldn't help but fulfill it. It was impossible to bury him on the mountain, but building a shelter is the least we could do to thank him for our ten-year friendship and his devotion to Ukraine," Hvozdovych continues.

прихисток на честь воїна

Shelter construction.

Havrylyshyn's dream project was implemented by his relatives and friends from Plast, namely from his club, which he belonged to and at one time headed, namely Chornomortsi and Black Sea Waves. At all stages of the plan's implementation, many people helped them, for whom, according to Hvozdovych, it was a matter of honor. The authorities helped solve the bureaucratic issues, and young scouts developed and sold Plastun songbooks in memory of Havrylyshyn. Then, all the funds were transferred to the implementation of the project. Although Havrylyshed was not on social media, during his life, he was familiar with hundreds of people whom he taught, helped, took to the mountains, or rafted on the rivers of the Carpathians, so the initiative gained a lot of public support from the first days. Ukrainian diaspora Plastun members joined the fundraiser, and more than ₴500,000 were collected through a joint fund. The windows, doors, and part of the wood from which the shelter was built were presented to the scouts by local businessmen.

"Work on site started on September 29, 2023. The project was complicated by logistics, which involved the delivery of materials almost to the very top, where there was no proper road, and our workers had to climb a kilometer up the mountain daily. But with all that, they managed — on November 25, 2023, Taras' dream came true," says Hvozdovych.

The TT hub — mountains, sea, and the starry sky

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Opening of the shelter.

A mountain tourist hub is a small, non-capital building with unrestricted, free access, located in the most desirable, from the point of view of travel, places within or near mountain hiking routes. The building must be protected from water and wind and have a strong structure. In Ukraine, the term "kolyba," a traditional Hutsul wooden hut made of logs for resting and sleeping for hunters, shepherds, and loggers who climb the mountains for a long time, is better known. However, the Chornomortsi and Black Sea Waves aimed to build a hub — a more technological, practical, and durable structure, based on the example of already implemented similar projects in the Tatra Mountains and other mountain ranges of Europe.

The mountain house in honor of the fallen defender Havrylyshyn is designed as a frame house according to the A-frame building type and is divided into three parts:

  1. Terrace in front of the entrance: with a view of Borzhava, Trostian peaks;
  2. Premises for tourists: with three-tier beds designed for 6 to 18 people (along with the possibility of sleeping on the floor on mats);
  3. Foresters' service quarters: with bunk beds for three people and a separate entrance. This part will probably become open to tourists as well.

All constructions are made of wood, and there is insulation. In the spring of 2024, lightning protection will be installed. The mountain hub is located near the top and the nearest water source (400 meters down). The structure occupies only a part of the lawn, so it is convenient to set up traditional tents for overnight stays on its territory.

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On the shelter's walls are paintings of the sea by the artist Ivan Havrylk.

During his life, Havrylyshyn was often an instructor in rescue, medical aid, self-preservation, and survival in the forest. "We have repeatedly encountered unforeseen security situations, in which TT always wisely overcame threats and helped save the lives and health of event participants," says Hvozdovych. "This project is a wonderful continuation of what he did before the war — he helped others, traveled the mountains, admired the rivers and the sea. The shelter houses paintings of the sea by a military friend, an artist Ivan Havrylk."

прихисток ТТ у горах

The TT shelter welcomes its first guests.

The shelter on Mount Paraska is not ordinary because it is the first in the Lviv region from among the future network of similar hubs that will form the concept of the Dark Sky Park, which the scouts and members of the Lviv Astronomical Society are working on.

These will be the facilities in the Carpathian highlands, created for observing the starry sky. Therefore, as part of the implementation of the project in April, by the anniversary of Havrylyshyn's birthday, it is planned to purchase a mobile telescope to organize astronomical observations during the stay in the shelter. It will be possible to rent it from the park or forestry administration at the foot of the mountain. The rental will be free of charge for the scouts who conduct camps and trips near the shelter, as well as for educational activities of local schools. Periodic astrological camps and other events for the development of astronomical tourism are also planned in the shelter and nearby communities. This direction was also close to Havrylushyn himself because he was an astronomy instructor for many years in the scout camps, where he taught children and adults, and then, the soldiers of his division, to read the starry sky.

Even more useful solutions!

"We knew Taras' last will and knew him well, and this made it possible to direct the sadness and despair we felt after his death into a socially useful project, which, in fact, continued his life's work," says Hvozdovych, coordinator of the mountain shelter project. Hvozdovych wishes Ukraine's victory to be as soon as possible and for friends to approach more lovingly and creatively the commemoration of those who gave their lives for this victory — embodying the unfinished business or ideas of the defenders, doing something useful for the community or society so that the names of the fallen defenders spread in a wide social circle. "Of course, each case is individual, but such commemoration makes it possible to more easily survive the loss, to direct feelings of sadness and regret into something useful that will serve for a long time and not just remain a dusty memorial plaque on the facade," Hvozdovych is convinced.

Shelter coordinates: 49°04'00.9″N 23°24'56.3″E. All willing travelers to Mount Paraska can use the shelter free of charge without prior registration or permits.

You can learn more about the shelter in honor of Taras Havrylyshyn on the project website or Facebook.



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