Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch

VELEBIT MOUNTAIN, CROATIA

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is a private and exclusive retreat and guest ranch in the Velebit mountain. It is the only genuine working guest ranch in Croatia, surrounded by 2 million acres of UNESCO protected pristine wilderness. Intimate and very private, the guest ranch offers a wide range of first class eco-adventures, superbly blended with casual elegance and quaint amenities.

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Owned by the incredibly welcoming Yerkovich family, their mission has been to create an authentic ‘old west’ ranch that is in complete harmony with its surroundings. The ranch was born from a vision to build a sustainable wilderness retreat that demonstrates and respects the land, people and wildlife of Velebit. The Yerkovich family now live in, own and manage the ranch from where they primarily operate horseback riding and nature tourism activities.

 

This private and intimate sanctuary is packed with everything you would expect from an eco-adventure retreat including wood burning fireplaces, thick feather beds and flannel linen to keep the mountain lodges cosy at night. Guests can choose to sleep in either a wood-frame apartment or a beam-supported tepee. The 50-acre ranch is best known for its horse-riding, but there’s also lots of opportunity for walking, hiking, mountain biking, caving, canoeing, bear-spotting safaris and even informal dance nights. The Yerkovich family will custom design nature adventures to suit each guests’ needs.

 

The restaurant serves seasonal organic food, sourced either from the nature or grown as part of their community-based projects.

 

www.lindenretreat.com

The 4Cs

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch joined The Long Run in 2016 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.

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CONSERVATION

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is located inside Velebit Mountain, specifically inside Velebit National Park. In 1978 park was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The spirit of the Biosphere Reserve governs the Retreat & Ranch’s operations and forms the backbone of all policies and sustainable development. Linden Tree is committed to exist in Velebit Mountain in an entirely sensitive and environmentally sustainable manner.

 

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch works hand-in-hand with several conservation organisations, as well as local, regional and federal government in developing sustainable, environmentally responsible programmes that benefit all stakeholders involved. Those programmes include Open Land Restoration, Bear Habitat Mapping and other wildlife studies.

 

The Yerkovich family view nature conservation as an important product of their ranch management practices. They approach each piece of land from a holistic perspective, looking at the ecosystem’s health from a landscape-scale and then narrowing its focus to particular areas of concern. For instance, a portion of Linden Tree was formerly used as grain fields. When the planting ceased, weeds overran these fields. By implementing a grazing programme in tandem with monitoring, they were able to restore native grasses to the area.

 

All aspects of Linden Tree’s operations are low-impact and updated as technology allows. Composting and recycling governs the food menus and beverage service, grey water gardens produce excellent fruits and high efficiency wood furnaces create hot water and heat buildings. All land and lake adventures are non-intrusive and conservancy-driven. The retreat aims to minimise the environmental impact of all their activities. Using designated trails they aim to lessen their footprint in the Park.

 

A visit to Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch actively contributes to the conservation of not only Velebit Mountain and its diverse flora and fauna but to the wider ecosystem as well.

 

COMMUNITY

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch continually strives to ensure that the tourism brought to the area benefits the local community. The retreat employs local men and women and, through various education-based naturalist and recreational offerings, contributes to the enhancement and global understanding of the Velebit Mountain Biosphere Reserve.

 

By staying at Linden Tree guess actively contribute toward community development and nature conservation projects. Linden Tree distributes €5 per guest into community development projects lead by staff of Linden Tree. These projects are primarily targeted at women and skills development to facilitate them in finding employment and each guest is invited to participate in these projects. A core component of these courses is promoting the sustainable use of natural products and valuing the natural environment.

 

Several projects have been successfully implemented in the last few years such as: “Fostering youth employment through development of rural tourism” and “Prosperity in diversity”, project in which elderly unemployed women in the community were trained in sustainable agriculture. As a result of both projects the Yerkovich family now have plenty of tasty produce to offer to their guests at the ranch.

 

CULTURE

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch are proud of their local cultural heritage. By bringing together local people and their guests, the Yerkovich family hope to take down cultural barriers and create long lasting and thought-provoking memories for both the local community and guests alike.

 

All the adventures and activities on offer are interpretive and provide a platform for their guests to engage deeply in local culture and legends whilst educating them about sustainable ways the local community lives by. Visits to local farms and archaeological sites in the valley allow guests to learn all about the history and culture of the region.

 

COMMERCE

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch’s business approach is centered on staying true to the underlying principles of sustainability, community engagement and high-quality products. A large potion of the nightly rate at the retreat is invested into their commitment to remain a highly sustainable and responsible tourism destination.Continually enhancing its socially responsible enterprise, Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch also has an employee profit-sharing plan as an additional way of ensuring its benefit to the local community.

 

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