What is a splash dam?

"Splash dam"(kliauza in ukrainian) - words that attracts attention and raises many questions. Ukrainian word for splash dam (kliauza) is sometimes used as a synonym for "written complaint". However, this word has another, technical meaning, better known to us as a "dam". The word is borrowed from the German language, "klause" - "gorge, pass". All the splash dams that remained in Verkhovyna Park were built in Austria-Hungary times.

It was then, at the end of the 19th century, that the rafting of forests from the highlands of the Ukrainian Carpathians began and continued under Soviet Ukraine until the 1970s. To control the mountain flow, dams with locks were built, which were called "klause" in German. They blocked the river, forming a reservoir, which was lowered, providing the river with the necessary water level for rafting the forest. In the mid-1880s, there were already 12 splash dams in the Black Cheremosh Basin, which is now part of the Verkhovyna National Nature Park, and 5 in the White Cheremosh Basin.

The construction of dams and other hydraulic structures (such as sidewalls - bumpy wooden walls at the bends of the river) was necessary due to lack of rail links. In remote hard-to-reach areas, streams were the only possible way to deliver logs from the highlands.

Round rafts were called darabs, and rafters were called darabars or bokorashers. It was a difficult and dangerous profession with a high level of mortality and injuries. The last darabars passed through Cheremosh in the 70s of the last century. When road transport began to be widely used for forest transportation, the need for splash dams disappeared. They were no longer cared for, and these impressive structures began to crumble.

Today in the park you can see the remains only of 5 slash dams. They no longer perform their primary function. Instead, they have become barriers to fish migration. So they will be gradually dismantled. Because there are already wonderful examples of how flora and fauna were restored on the territory after the splash dam was dismantled. The fish began to migrate, and other animals returned to these places. If you are interested, you can read more here.