This picture was taken in Teichi Nature Reserve, which is the largest wetland area in the Baltic States and a significant Ramsar convention site. Thousands of migratory birds stop here on their way every year, making this place an important safe refuge for them. For many people it is, however, a large bog very well suited for picking berries when the time comes.
Cranberries were picked here for decades, as far as anyone can tell. But large crowds of people can cause considerable stress to the fragile ecosystem - the green layers of moss turn mud brown after too many people walk over them in a too short period of time. And where people come - they scare away animals, such as migratory birds in fall, nesting eagles, etc.
Since the access to nature reserves was not restricted (or not really enforced) in the Soviet-era Latvia, still in the 90s people used to come in buses and trains, and sometimes hundreds of cars to pick berries here, causing considerable disturbance to the wildlife.
After Latvia regained independence 1991, the nature conservation approach in this country changed as well, and the administration of the reserve started to limit access to the reserve, so that it would not disturb the wildlife here.
This small path has been used to transport literally tonnes of cranberries out of this bog, hence transportation of cranberries.
Nowadays only local inhabitants are allowed two weekends in this season for picking cranberries in this protected area.
You can't really see any damaging effects as there is very little, if any, disturbance done to the territory this way, so the boundaries of the path are getting less and less distinct every year. The administration has worked long and hard to preserve the nature here by working with the local residents to develop understanding and awareness of its importance and respect for its values. Still you can spot the general direction of the path by carefully looking around yourself in the picture.
And when you walk here in the evening you can still meet some local families coming out of the bog on this path. It's about time now, because the sun will be setting soon...