Stolowe Mountains National Park
The symbol of the Park is a table-shaped (island) mountain.
The Stolowe Mountains National Park (National Park of Table Mountains) was established on January 1, 1994. It is located in the north-western part of the Klodzko Basin and covers the region of Góry Stolowe (Table Mountains), which are part of the Middle Sudety Mountains. Its total area of 6,280 ha extends protection to the characteristic mountain formations called table (island) mountains and forests and meadows, that cover their slopes. A landscape of the area is enriched with a wealth of the exposed rock formations, that were carved through eons by weathering of the metamorphic rocks. Such a landscape is unique in Poland.
The Park's landscape is dominated by high rock formatíons, which are the most attractive element of inanimate nature of the Table Mountains. The mountains are build of horizontally layered sandstones with characteristic floors than form rocky "tables" - hence the name of the mountains. At the edges of these "tables" there occur rocky cliffs of scenic beauty and fantastically shaped single rocks. The mountains are the only in Poland example of mountains made up of rocks built of sandstones and marl layers of a very differentiated resistance to erosion caused by the wind and water. As these rocks were exposed to the weathering and erosion processes, interesting groups of rocks and isolated rock formations of such shapes as towers, pulpits, rock mushrooms, labyrinths and island mountains, have been formed.
The Park's borders include several separated rock massifs - Szczeliniec (919 m above sea level), which is also the highest in these mountains, Skalniak (915 m above sea level) and Naroznik (851 m above sea level). Szczeliniec is also a geological reserve containing unusual rock formations, such as The Camel (Wielblad), The Sitting Hen (Kwoka), The Mammoth (Mamut) and The Negro Head (Glowa Murzyna). The entire area of rocks forming the massif of Szczeliniec Maly is under strict protection.
The climate of Gory Stolowe is very specific and harsh. On the average, it has a short (only 8-week long) summer and 14-week long winter with intensive snowfalls, which leave the snow in the crevices of Szczeliniec, such as Piekielko (The Little Hell), until June or July. Precipitation amounts to 950 mm in the lower parts and up to 1,100 mm per annum on the mountain tops.
The flora of the Park is dominated by the forests of the lower subalpine floor. Spruce trees, that dominate the forests, were introduced in this region after native beech and fir forests have been completely exploited. Forest covers ca. 90 % of the total Park area, that is 5,570 ha. The natural primeval forests have been preserved only in the region of Pasterka and Darnkowo. Apart from the beech-tree, also old elm and fir-tree appear occasionally in the region. Some unique meadows may be found in the region of Lezyce, Batorow and Golaczow. They contain the rich stands of the globe flower and veratrum. Due to the way in which these meadows had originated, and due to their apparent similarity to the African savannah, this region is referred to as the "Lezycka Savannah". Among the strictly protected areas, the Batorow Peatbog (Torfowisko Batorowskie), covering an area of some 40 ha, is noteworthy. It boasts plants typical of a highmoor peatbog, including 35 species of protected plants such as Martagon lily, meadow-saffron, wild pepper, globe flower, orchids, mountain tobacco, and even the carline. In addition, 272 species of moss and 112 species of liverworts have been noted there.
The fauna of the Park is abundant, although variety is relatively poor. The mammal species living here include deer, roe-deer, wild boar, as well as fox, marten, badger, gray squirrel and hedgehog. Among birds, the most interesting are the eagle owl, the black stork, the goshawk, the sparrow-hawk, the wagtail, and the dipper (water ouzel, Cinclus cinclus). Reptiles and amphibians are represented by the common European viper, grass-snake, blind-worm, newt and spotted salamander. The most unique species are found among invertebrates and those include snails, arthropodans and, especially, three endemic species of spiders.
The Table Mountains are a great tourist attraction due to the interesting rock formations, seldom to be found elsewhere in Poland. The most interesting are the rock and landscape reservations of Szczeliniec Wielki and Szczeliniec Maly, as well as Bledne Skaly (Rocks Errant), making up a fantastic rock labyrinth formed in a sandstone slab. There are several tourist and mountain trails (75 km overall) and an educational path known as Rock Relief Trail to Szczeliniec, which is running throughout the Park. The Park's attractions also include Rock Mushrooms (Skalne Grzyby), Shepherd's Crags (Skalki Pasterskie), White Rocks (Biale Skaly), Mount Rogowa (Rogowa Kopa), which is the only stand of saxifrage in Poland, and the Great Batorów Peatbog (Wielkie Torfowisko Batorowskie).
The location of the Table Mountains and of the National Park in close proximity to renowned health and holiday resorts of Klodzko Basin, such as Duszniki Zdrój, Kudowa Zdrój, Polanica Zdrój, Klodzko and Bystrzyca Klodzka, attracts many visitors each year. The region is attractive also due to easy access, short distances between places and good transportation facilities. In addition, it offers easy access to the neighboring Czech Republic; it is expected, that a National Park, protecting similar landscape, will be established on the adjacent Czech territory of Broumovska Vrchovina.
|Babiogorski NP||Bialowieski NP||Biebrzanski NP||Bieszczadzki NP||Borow Tucholskich NP
||Stolowe Mountains NP
||Ujscie Warty NP
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