|Wigry National Park|
|Polish: Wigierski Park Narodowy|
|Location||Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland|
|Area||150.86 km2 (58.25 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Ministry of the Environment|
|Official name||Wigry National Park|
|Designated||29 October 2002|
Wigry National Park (Polish : Wigierski Park Narodowy) is a National Park in Podlaskie Voivodeship in north-eastern Poland. It covers parts of the Masurian Lake District and Augustów Primeval Forest (Puszcza Augustowska). It is named after lake Wigry, the largest of the Park's many lakes. It is also classed as a Ramsar wetland site, one of 13 such sites in Poland.
The Park was created on January 1, 1989, on an area of 149.56 km2. Today it is slightly larger at 150.86 km2 (58.25 sq mi), of which 94.64 km2 is forest, 29.08 km2 is waters and 27.14 km2 other types of land, mostly agricultural. Strictly protected zones account for 6.23 km2, including 2.83 km2 of woods. The Park has its headquarters in the town of Suwałki.
The Park’s landscape was to a large extent shaped by a glacier which covered this region around 12,000 years ago. The glacier, while slowly receding to the North, formed valleys, many of which are filled with water in the form of lakes. Some of the shallowest lakes have in the course of time become peat-bogs. Northern part of the park is hilly, with elevation reaching 180 meters above sea level. Southern part, on the other hand, is flat and is mainly covered with a forest, which is part of the broader Puszcza Augustowska.
The Park is famous for its numerous lakes, which are of different shape, size and depth. Altogether, there are 42 of them, the biggest, Wigry, covering the area of 21.87 km2 with maximum depth of 73 meters, is located in central part of the Park. The main river is Czarna Hańcza, which crosses Lake Wigry, and forms a popular kayaking route.
The first attempts to protect the nature of Lake Wigry and its surrounding area were undertaken in the 1920s – first by Kazimierz Kulwieć and later by the botanist Bolesław Hryniewiecki and the limnologist Alfred Lityński – but never came to fruition. Their activities, however, led to the creation of a hydrobiological station on the shores of the lake in Płociczno. It was active until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. The first protected area, a partial reserve named “Wigry”, was established in 1931. Two other reserves, “Ostoja Bobrów Stary Folwark” (Stary Folwark Beavers’ Refuge) and “Ostoja Bobrów Zakąty” (Zakąty Beavers’ Refuge), were established in 1959 and 1962 in order to protect beavers. In 1970, Lake Wądołek and a fragment of an adjacent forest became the first strict nature reserve in the area. In 1975, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed Lake Wigry on its list of the most valuable water reservoirs in the world (Project "Aqua").
Lobbying for the further protection of Lake Wigry eventually resulted in the establishment of Wigry Landscape Park in 1976, which covered an area of nearly 11,000 ha. Shortly after the establishment of the landscape park, work aiming at designation of a national park began, eventually resulting in the government’s decision to designate Wigry National Park in June 1988, with an area of 14,840 ha. The park officially began its activity on January 1, 1989. In 1997, the area was increased to 15,085 ha.
In 2002, Wigry National Park was inscribed on the Ramsar Convention list of wetlands of international importance. It became a part of the Natura 2000 network in 2004.
Over 1,700 animal species have been found in the Park, including 46 species of mammals, 202 species of birds, 12 species of amphibians and 5 species of reptiles. The most characteristic animal living in the Park is European beaver, numerous in lakes and rivers. Currently there are around 250 beavers there. Also, sometimes one can meet a wolf. In Park’s waters thrive 32 species of fish. For some animals, Wigry National Park is the only place to live. 289 species are protected by law and 128 of them have been placed on the Red List of Endangered Species in Poland.
Interesting is the fact that in the Park there is not a single specimen of beech tree. On the other hand, predominant tree type is the fir which is present in all forests. The Park’s area is to a large extent covered by peat bogs, which are in some places of pristine character.
Northeastern Poland, including the Park itself, is an attractive region for tourism, especially in the summertime. There are more than 190 kilometres of tourist trails in the park. Fishing anglers as well as sailboats take advantage of the biggest lakes including Wigry, Pierty, Leszczewek and Mulaczysko.
The places of interest include a former monastery, where an artist residency belonging to the Ministry of Culture is located.
There are 23 national parks in Poland. These were formerly run by the Polish Board of National Parks, but in 2004 responsibility for them was transferred to the Ministry of the Environment. Most national parks are divided into strictly and partially protected zones. Additionally, they are usually surrounded by a protective buffer zone called otulina.
Polish forests cover about 30% of Poland's territory, and are mostly owned by the state. Western and northern parts of Poland as well as the Carpathian Mountains in the extreme south, are much more forested than eastern and central provinces. The most forested administrative districts of the country are: Lubusz Voivodeship (48,9%), Subcarpathian Voivodeship (37,2%), and Pomeranian Voivodeship (36,1%). The least forested are: Łódź Voivodeship (21%), Masovian Voivodeship (22,6%), and Lublin Voivodeship (22,8%).
Kampinos National Park is a National Park in east-central Poland, in Masovian Voivodeship, on the north-west outskirts of Warsaw. It has a sister park agreement with Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana, United States.
The Karkonosze National Park is a National Park in the Karkonosze Mountains in the Sudetes in southwestern Poland, along the border with the Czech Republic.
Wielkopolski National Park is a National Park within the Wielkopolska region of west-central Poland, approximately 15 km (9 mi) south of the regional capital, Poznań. It gets its unique nature from post-glacier lakes, surrounded by dense pine forests, characterised by its spectacular location. Together with the protective zone around it, it includes part of the Poznań Lakeland and parts of Poznań's Warta Gorge.
Biebrza National Park is a national park in Podlaskie Voivodeship, northeastern Poland, situated along the Biebrza River.
Narew National Park is a National Park in Podlaskie Voivodeship, north-eastern Poland, created in 1996. The park is a 35 kilometres (22 mi) section of the Narew River. It is a swampy valley with moraine hills typical of a braided river. Depending on the season and the level of the water table, several riparian area ecosystems are available including swamps, tussocks with surrounding black alder and white willow forested areas. The total area of the Park is 73.5 square kilometres (28.4 sq mi), of which only 20.57 square kilometres (7.94 sq mi) is state-owned, the balance being privately held.
Wigry is a lake located in north-eastern part of Poland, in Podlaskie Voivodeship.
Babia Góra National Park is one of the 23 national parks in Poland, located in the southern part of the country, in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, on the border with Slovakia. The Park has its headquarters in the village of Zawoja.
Drawa National Park is located in north-western Poland, on the border of Greater Poland, Lubusz and West Pomeranian Voivodeships. The park is a part of the huge Drawsko Forest, which lies on the vast Drawsko Plain. It takes its name from the River Drawa. It was created in 1990 and initially covered 86.91 km². Later, it was enlarged to 113.42 square kilometres (43.79 sq mi) of which forests account for 96.14 km², and water bodies cover 9.37 km².
The Stołowe Mountains National Park, anglicized to Table Mountains National Park, is a national Park in south-western Poland. It comprises the Polish section of the Table Mountains, also known as the Table Mountains in English, which are part of the Sudetes range. It is located in Kłodzko County of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, at the border with the Czech Republic. Created in 1993, the Park covers an area of 63.39 square kilometres (24.48 sq mi), of which forests accounts for 57.79 km². The area of strict protection is 3.76 km².
Polesie National Park is a National Park in Lublin Voivodeship, eastern Poland, in the Polish part of the historical region of Polesia. Created in 1990 over an area of 48.13 square kilometres, it covers a number of former peat-bog preserves: Durne Marsh, Moszne Lake, Długie Lake, Orłowskie Peatland. In 1994 its size was augmented by the addition of Bubnów Marsh, a swampy terrain adjacent to the park. Currently, the park occupies 97.62 km2 (37.69 sq mi), of which forests make up 47.8 km², and water and wastelands 20.9 km².
Tatra National Park is a National Park located in the Tatra Mountains in Tatra County, in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship—Małopolska region, in central-southern Poland. The Park has its headquarters in the town of Zakopane.
The Ujście Warty National Park, or the Warta River-Mouth National Park in English, is the youngest of Poland's 23 National Parks. It was created on June 19, 2001, in the region of the lowest stretch of the Warta river, up to its confluence with the Odra (Oder), which marks the Polish–German border. The Park covers an area of 80.38 square kilometres (31.03 sq mi) within Lubusz Voivodeship. The name Ujście Warty means "mouth of the Warta" – the Polish word ujście also being used for the termination of a river at another river or lake rather than the sea.
The RospudaPolish pronunciation: [rɔsˈpuda] is a small river in north-eastern Poland. It flows through the Suwałki Region of Poland, including the north-western part of the large Augustów Primeval Forest wilderness area. Its continuation, the Netta, is a tributary of the Biebrza. Around 2006 the river was threatened by planned construction of the Augustów bypass expressway, which was to cut across the protected wilderness area in the valley. After an intense campaign of protests in Poland and abroad and also counter-protests of the local community, the plans have been changed, and now the highway has been rerouted to completely avoid the wilderness area.
Augustów Primeval Forest or Augustów Forest is a large virgin forest complex located in Poland as well as in northern Belarus and southeastern Lithuania. The forest covers about 1,600 square kilometres, of which 1,140 square kilometres is in Poland.
Puszcza Piska Forest or the Pisz Forest is the largest forest complex of the Masuria region in northern Poland, adjacent to the Masurian Landscape Park, and the Masurian Lowlands. Formerly known as the Jańsborska wilderness, Puszcza Piska bears the name of the Pisa river bordering the Forest along its west bank.
Meshchyora National Park covers extensive wetlands and pine/birch woodlands in the Meshchera Lowlands on the East European Plain in Vladimir Oblast, about 120 km east of Moscow. The wetland habitat provides for extremely rich biodiversity among the plants and animals. The area is associated with the medieval Meshchera tribe, from which the area takes its name. "Meshchyora" National Park (Мещёра) is not to be confused with "Meshchersky" (Мещёрский) National Park, which is just to the south, over the border in Ryazan Oblast. The Meshchyora NP is located entirely within the Oka River watershed. A small corner of the park touches on the border of the Moscow region. About 39% of the park territory is used and managed for agricultural purposes by local communities.
Meshchyorsky National Park covers extensive wetlands and pine/birch woodlands in the Meshchera Lowlands on the East European Plain in the northern section of Ryazan Oblast, Russia, about 120 km east of Moscow. The wetland habitat provides for extremely rich biodiversity among the plants and animals. "Meshchersky" (Мещёрский) National Park is not to be confused with "Meshchyora" (Мещёра) National Park, which is just to the north, over the border in Vladimir Oblast. The park protects a section of the Pra River, Lake Beloye, and associated wetlands and forests. About 54% of the park territory is used and managed for agricultural purposes by local communities.