Bieszczadzki National Park
The symbol of the Park is the lynx (Lynx lynx), a beast of prey, which can be frequently found in this area.
The Bieszczadzki National Park was established on August 4, 1973. Over the past few years, the Park has been enlarged significantly and now totals at 27,064 ha with forests covering most of its area (64%). The Park includes parts of the Bieszczady Mountains, which are the westernmost part of the Eastern Beskidy Mountains Range. The Park is located in the southeastern tip of Poland. Since 1992, the Park has been included on the list of the World Biosphere Reserves.
The Park protects the highest portions of the Western Bieszczady Mountains, including Mount Tarnica, which rises to a height of 1,346 m above sea level, as well as the Polonina Carynska and Wielka Rawka, with their surrounding forests. Just above the lower mountain forests, which are made up of beech and fir trees, the Bieszczady Mountains enclose a floor of mountainous pastureland known as poloniny. Here the treeless summits, surrounded by the green forests, create a specific and completely unique aura. This area is practically unaltered by man. Countless people are drawn here each year in search of silence, clean air and crystal clear water. The serene nature of the Bieszczady Mountains is exceptionally gracious for those who enjoy photography and the park itself is famous for its wonderful mountain vistas.
The vegetation zones, which are typically observed in other mountain ranges with a similar character, are significantly different in Bieszczady. Among the tree species found in the Park, the beech-tree dominates the forests, which are comprised of ca. 85 % beechwood. With an admixture of sycamore and fir trees, the Carpathian beechwood complexes are formed and those cover the slopes and valleys, while alder forests occur along streams. Beechwood forests grow up to 1,150 m above sea level and they are neighboring directly the mountain pastures, interspersed with bilberry, cowberry, grass, alder and rowan. There is no subalpine spruce forest in Bieszczady.
The plant world of this region is very rich. There are approximately 900 species of vascular plants, including 42 species of plants under protection. Numerous plants typical of Eastern Carpathian Mountains, as well as species of moss, lichen and fungi, are found in the Park. Numerous fescua and sedge colonies overgrow the damp depressions on the dry mountain slopes,.
The fauna of Bieszczady includes some 200 rare species. Their number includes the European bison, which was introduced in 1963 in Forestry Stuposiany, as well as brown bear, lynx, wildcat, wolf, deer and wild boar. Birds are represented by over 100 species, including the Ural owl, Alpine hedge-sparrow, pipit, and golden eagle. Numerous reptiles, including viper, may be encountered on the trails.
The closest tourist center is Ustrzyki Gorne which is the starting point for many tourists visiting this beautiful part of the country. In the Bieszczadzki National Park there are 135 km of marked and relatively easy tourist trails (subject to limitations in the winter season) and four educational trails (to be visited with guides). Since 1994 the Bieszczadzki National Park has maintained one of the largest in Poland (approximately 90 animals) Preservatory Stud of the Hucul Horse, which is also used for tourist purposes, in Wetlina and Wolosate. Currently, short horseback rides are offered; in the future, several-day long mountain horseback trips will be offered.
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