|Bieszczady National Park|
|Bieszczadzki Park Narodowy|
|Location||Subcarpathian Voivodeship, Poland|
|Area||292.02 km2 (112.75 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Ministry of the Environment|
|Official name||Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe|
|Inscription||2007 (31st Session)|
|Extensions||2011, 2017, 2021|
Bieszczady National Park ( [bʲɛˈʂt͡ʂadɨ] pronunciation: Byeah-shcha-di; Polish : Bieszczadzki Park Narodowy) is the third-largest national park in Poland, located in Subcarpathian Voivodeship in the extreme southeast corner of the country. In 2021, the national park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site (as an extension to the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe).
The park was created in 1973. At the time it covered only 59.55 square kilometres (22.99 sq mi), but over the years it was enlarged four times. The last enlargements took place in 1996 (when the park incorporated the former villages of Bukowiec, Beniowa and Carynskie) and in 1999 (when the former villages of Dzwiniacz, Tarnawa and Sokoliki were added).
It occupies 292.02 square kilometres (112.75 sq mi), covering the highest areas of the Polish part of the Bieszczady Mountains. In 1992 the park and its surrounding areas became part of the UNESCO East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, which has a total area of 2,132.11 square kilometres (823.21 sq mi) and includes parts in Slovakia and (since 1998) Ukraine.
Forests cover about 80% of Bieszczady National Park. The woods are mainly natural; in some cases it can be said that they have preserved their pristine character. The highest peak in the park, Tarnica, is 1,346 metres (4,416 ft) above sea level.
Animal life is abundant with several species of endangered animals thriving in the area, among them brown bears, grey wolf, European wildcat, wild boar, European beavers, European otter, and European lynx as well as deer (such as moose) and European bison (over 500 live in the area). The park contains interesting bird species, including eagles and owls, and is home to the largest Polish population of Aesculapian snakes.
The park is sparsely populated (less than 1 person per km2), which means that animals can roam freely. The region is very popular among tourists, but there are not many facilities. Around 70% of the park is regarded as strict preserve, which means that the use of trails is restricted. The park's authorities promote walking trips.
Białowieża Forest is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. The forest is home to 800 European bison, Europe's heaviest land animal. UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme designated the Polish Biosphere Reserve Białowieża in 1976 and the Belarusian Biosphere Reserve Belovezhskaya Puschcha in 1993. In 2015, the Belarusian Biosphere Reserve occupied the area of 216,200 ha, subdivided into transition, buffer and core zones. The forest has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an EU Natura 2000 Special Area of Conservation. The World Heritage Committee by its decision of June 2014 approved the extension of the UNESCO World Heritage site "Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Białowieża Forest, Belarus, Poland", which became "Białowieża Forest, Belarus, Poland". It straddles the border between Poland and Belarus, and is 70 kilometres north of Brest, Belarus and 62 kilometres southeast of Białystok, Poland. The Białowieża Forest World Heritage site covers a total area of 141,885 ha . Since the border between the two countries runs through the forest, there is a border crossing available for hikers and cyclists.
Subcarpathian Voivodeship or Subcarpathia Province is a voivodeship, or province, in the southeastern corner of Poland. Its administrative capital and largest city is Rzeszów. Along with the Marshall, it is governed by the Subcarpathian Regional Assembly. Historically, most of the province's territory was part of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria and the Ruthenian Voivodeship. In the interwar period, it was part of the Lwów Voivodeship.
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Bieszczady Mountains is a mountain range that runs from the extreme south-east of Poland and north-east of Slovakia through to western Ukraine. It forms the western part of the Eastern Beskids, and is more generally part of the Outer Eastern Carpathians. The mountain range is situated between the Łupków Pass and the Vyshkovskyi Pass. The highest peak of Bieszczady is Mt Pikui in Ukraine. The highest peak of the Polish part is Tarnica.
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