Karkonosze National Park

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Karkonosze National Park
Karkonoski Park Narodowy
IUCN category II (national park)
Karkonoski Park Narodowy.jpg
View from Szrenica towards the West
Map showing the location of Karkonosze National Park
Park logo with Karkonosze
Location Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland
Area 55.76 km²
Established 1959
Governing body Ministry of the Environment

The Karkonosze National Park (Polish: Karkonoski Park Narodowy) is a National Park in the Karkonosze (Czech: Krkonoše) Mountains in southwestern Poland, along the border with the Czech Republic.[1]

The park is located in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in the highest part of the Sudetes. It was created in 1959 to cover an area of 55.10 km². Today it is slightly larger at 55.76 km2 (21.53 sq mi), of which 17.18 km² is strictly protected. The majority of the park area, around 33.80 km², consists of forests. In 1992 Karkonosze National Park, together with the neighbouring Czech National Park, became part of the Krkonose / Karkonosze biosphere reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MaB) programme.[2] Also, 40 hectares of peat bogs were designated a Ramsar international wetland site.

Geography[edit]

The Karkonosze Mountains are the highest range of the much broader Sudetes mountains stretching horisontally from south-western Poland along the northern border of the Czech Republic to eastern Germany. Its highest peak is Śnieżka at 1,602 metres (5,256 ft) above sea level, forming a triangle with (similarly sounding) Śnieżnik, 1,424 metres (4,672 ft),[3] as well as Ślęża peak, further apart. They are connected by a red hiking trail only for qualified tourists.[4] Śnieżka is unique in its rounded, treeless cap, which stands in sharp contrast to other, lower peaks.

The Krkonose/Karkonosze Mountains are situated on the division of the European water system between the basins of two major rivers – the Elbe and the Oder – which means that it also separates the basins of the Baltic Sea and North Sea. Many of the Karkonosze’s streams come down the hills, creating waterfalls, the largest of which in the Polish part of the mountains (300 m) is created by the Łomniczka stream.

There are about 100 various birds living in the park, the most numerous of animal species living there. In the higher parts of the mountains there are fewer species of them; in the lower levels there are 100 varieties, but in the peaks there are not more than 10. The park has four species of fish, six species of amphibians, and five species of reptiles. The park's attraction are mouflons, brought here at the beginning of the 20th century.

Karkonosze National Park is visited by more than 1.5 million tourists yearly. They can use 112 kilometres of walking paths, 10 ski lifts and 12 guest houses. The Park has its headquarters in the town of Jelenia Góra.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Karkonoski National Park". Polish National Parks. Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland). 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ UNESCO (2007). "Krkonose/Karkonosze; Czech Republic/Poland". General Description. Biosphere Reserve Information. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved January 13, 2013.  (See: UNESCO brochure in PDF).
  3. ^ Wirtualne Stronie Slaskie (2007–2013). "Masyw Śnieżnika - najwyższe pasmo górskie Sudetów Wschodnich" (in Polish). Europejski Fundusz na rzecz Rozwoju Obszarow Wiejskich: Europa. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ Krzysztof Strasburger. "Śnieżka, Śnieżnik i Ślęża". Co to jest turystyka idiotyczna (in Polish). Retrieved January 14, 2013. 

Coordinates: 50°46′N 15°39′E / 50.767°N 15.650°E / 50.767; 15.650