Babiogorski National Park
Babiogorski National Park was established on January 1, 1955. It is the smallest National Park in Poland, with an area of 3,391.55 ha. Forests cover an area of 1,585 ha of the Park, and 943 ha of forests are the subject to the special protection in the strict reserves (which total 1,061 ha). Babia Gora and its immediate surroundings are among the World Biosphere Reserves in Poland. The Park is located 19 km south-southwest of the city of Sucha Beskidzka, while the closest tourist center, Zawoja-Widly, is located just over 5 km from the Park border.
The laserwort (Laserpitium archangelica) is the Park's symbol; the Park is the only place in Poland, where this plant can be found.
The Park represents the natural forests of the Western Carpathian region, and is located in the highest part of the Beskid Zywiecki range. This range is the southernmost part of Western Carpathian Mountains, running here along the east-west direction. The highest peak of the entire Beskid Range, Babia Gora, reaches a height of 1,724 m above sea level, and with its surroundings, is protected in the Park.
Babia Gora itself is a perfect example of the natural stratification of vegetation in dependence on an altitude, typical of mountainous regions. On the slopes of Babia Gora all zones of mountain vegetation are observed. The lowest zone, the lower mountain forest, extends to an altitude of 1,150 m above sea level and is primarily made up of beech trees with a small number of spruce and maple trees, and with the occasional sycamors. The subalpine zone, the upper mountain forest, reaches to an elevation of 1,390 m above sea level and is dominated by spruce trees with rowans. Above this, there is a zone of dwarf pines with Silesian willows, rock currants, scrup spruces and alpine junipers. The highest, the alpine zone, entails the summits covered by high mountain tufr with short grass, bilberry fields, lichens and exposed rocks.
The spruce trees predominate in subalpine forest, while beech and fir trees are far less numerous although some of them are up to 350 years old and up to 40 m high. Both the lower and higher mountain forests on the Babia Gora slopes are well preserved remainders of the original Carpathian Forests.
The flora of the Park includes approximately 700 species of vascular plants and almost 1420 species of lower plants. Among numerous species of typical mountain plants 54 species are subject to protection.
The wealth of animal life is represented by lynx, badger, marten, fox, weasel, deer, wild boar, wolf and, occasionally, brown bear. There are approximately 120 species of birds observed there. Among the more interesting birds that make their appearance, the wood grouse and hazelhen may be found. The old stands of trees near Mokry Staw (Wet Pond) are nesting grounds for the great eagle owl, buzzard and the tawny owl. The worlds of insects, amphibians and reptiles are also very rich.
A number of marked tourist paths cross the Park. The peak of Babia Gora (also known as Diablak) and the mountain chalet at Markowe Szczawiny are the major crossroads to fair tourist traffic in the Park. Babia Gora is famous for its view, which, according to many opinions, has no equal in the whole of Poland. On a sunny day, all of the surrounding ranges and valleys, both in Poland and Slovakia, may be clearly seen.
Babia Gora Range is part of The Great Continental Divide, separating the waters running to the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. It is also the range dividing two ethnic regions. To the north live the Zywiec Beskid Mountaineers, while the region south of the Babia Gora is inhabited by Orawians. At the southern foreland of this mountain, an interesting Etnographic Park of Orawian Culture is located in Zubrzyca Gorna.
|Babiogorski NP||Bialowieski NP||Biebrzanski NP||Bieszczadzki NP||Borow Tucholskich NP
||Stolowe Mountains NP
||Ujscie Warty NP
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