Askinskaya Ice Cave to be more accessible to people with special needs

On Saturday,July 25,a special cleanup event called #takebackwhatyoubrought will be held at Mount Toratau. Everyone is invited to participate.

The idea to make the ice cave more accessible to those who cannot experience its natural beauty due to health restrictions was proposed by Nyuta Federmesser during her visit to Ufa this August. Last weekend together with patients of the Oktyabrsky Nursing Home she visited Askinskaya Ice cave in the Karanyurt River valley.

– The cave is located near the place where hundreds of disabled and elderly people live, however they have never been to the place, - says Nyuta Federmesser. – They are kept in those gloomy green walls of the elderly facility, when they could reach the foot of the Urals in an hour and see the ice dating back to the Ice Age. Lenara Hakimova and I decided that we must take the guys from the rest home here at any cost. And yesterday we finally did it. 5 people aged 27 to 66. With physical and mental special needs. After 6 months of “COVID-detention” They all got there by themselves! For every one of them it was a brand-new experience, they have never been to such a pristine forest. They have never been so tired and quiet before. They were greatly impressed. I tormented them with questions, asked them what they liked the most, what they remembered, what stories they were going to share with their friends back at home, and the only answer I got was that they wished all of their friends at the Oktyabrsky Nursing Home could go down that cave.

These types of tours can be made possible with support from the regional authorities and NGOs. Currently the regional division of the Russian Geographical Society that has been leasing the site since 2017 is developing a project for the Presidential Grant Contest. As part of the redevelopment project it’s planned to asphalt a 2km road patch for better car access to the cave, to install aluminum rails and ramps, to buy a multi-passenger UAZ jeep truck and a snowmobile for all-year-round access for people with special needs. Inside the ice cave the stairs will be adapted for the comfort of people with special needs and also there will be a yurta for tourists. 

The persistence and lively interest of the people from the nursing home is also quite remarkable. The main thing is that we made sure that this was great therapy! We are expecting help from the Presidential Grant Foundation and “Helicopters of Russia” Holding, as well as Russian Federal Tourism Agency.

-Lenara Ivanova

If the project is successful, this natural site will be visited by people with special needs. This will be the first socially adapted natural site in Bashkortostan.

According to the preliminary calculations, we need 11 million rubles and during the first year the cave will be attended by about a thousand nursing home folk. I’m sure that the “Helicopters of Russia” Holding, the Presidential Grant Foundation, the Russian Geographical Society, the Government of Bashkortostan and of course the “Region of Care” foundation will help us. The only thing left to do is to find the money and finish accomplish the project.

-Nyuta Federmesser

Background info: Askinskaya Ice Cave is a unique natural site lacoted in the Karanyut River valley on the eastern slope of the Ulutau Range, 2km away from the village of Solontsy (Askino) in the Arkhangelsky district of Bashkortostan. After being leased to the Russian Geographical Society it was explored and protected from destruction by a team of experts. The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Protection of Bashkortostan granted money for the refurbishment works with help from Gazprom-Transgaz Ufa Ltd. In 2018 the regional division of the Russian Geographical Society received a grant from Labor Ministry of Bashkortostan for road filling and staircase and lights installation inside Askinskaya Ice Cave. A house for the security officers was built with guest rooms sleeping 20 people as well as 3 bridges across mountain rivers, awnings, toilets at camp sites and a gazebo. The security house is furnished with solar panels, wireless internet and camera access. Info banners and handouts were printed and parking spaces were organized. A viewing point was built.

Source: press service of the Ministry of Family, Labor and
Social Protection of Bashkortostan

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