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Parki Narodowe
Parki narodowe


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Magura Natonal Park

Location, area, history
Magura National Park was established in 1995 over the area of 19,962 ha which about 97% is situated in Krosno Province, while about 3% in Nowy Sącz Province. The Park is situated on the south of Poland, in the Beskid Niski mountain range, by the border with the Slovak Republic. It covers a large part of water-head area of the Wis3oka river, which is the Magura Wątkowska massif, a part of the main Carpathian ridge. Forest ecosystems prevail in the Park, covering 17,951 ha (89.9% of the total area).

Geology, geomorphology and soils
Tha Park landscape is typical for the Beskid Niski - medium and low mountain range. Flysch rocks of the Magura nappe prevail in geological structure. Places of particular interest for geologists are: "Diabli Kamien" (The Devil's Stone) - a monument of nature, and "Kornuty" Nature Reserve. The Park's main part is the range of Magura Wątkowska with the highest peak Wątkowa (847 m a.s.l.). Its northern slopes are cut through by the Bednarka and K3opotnica streams. The eastern part of the Magura is shaped as a series of single hummocks, separated by stream valleys and deep passes. Longer chains are present in the southern part of the Park, where distinctive elements are the hills: Nad Tysowym (713 m a.s.l.), Wielka Góra (719 m a.s.l.), and Baranie (728 m a.s.l.), separated between each other by the Pass over Ożenna, Ciechania, and Olchowiec.

The river-head of the Wis3oka river is located within the Park area. The river itself, together with its numerous tributaries is an important element of the Park landscape. The river has features typical for a mountain river, i.e. forms picturesque water gaps and meanders, often changes its direction, especially after being fed by a larger tributary. It is supplied from the south by the Ryjak, Krempna, and Wilsznia, and from the north by the Owierzówka and Rzeszówka.

The Park flora shows a zonal character and features of a transition area between the Eastern and Western Carpathian Mountains. Plant communities are characterised by permanent presence of foothill, thermophilous, and xerothermic species. Among 30 plant communities described in the Park, forest communities prevail. The foothill zone (up to 530 m a.s.l.) contains dry-ground forests, Carpathian alder forest, and wet-ground alder forest. The lower mountain forest zone (above 530 m a.s.l.) is dominated by rich Carpathian beech forest. Large area is also occupied by coniferous forests with fir, spruce and fir, as well as pine, introduced by Man. In the forests structure, low percentage of spruce is interesting as it proves the high natural character of the forests. The confirmed number of vascular plants in the Park is 400 species, while their total number is estimated at about 700. There are 45 alpine and 42 protected species. Especially valuable species include: Valeriana tripteris, Aconitum variegatum, and Aconitum moldavicum, Atropa beladonna, Blechnum spicant, Carlina acauris, orchids, Dianthus armeria, and Daphne mezereum.

Fauna in the Beskid Niski range the Park is one the sites that are richest in fauna. There are 137 species of birds, including 108 nesting species (mostly associated with forests). Among them many are rare and threatened, such as golden eagle, lesser spotted eagle, eagle owl, honey buzzard. Species having large populations include: black stork, Ural owl, and white-backed woodpecker. 35 species of mammals live here, among them large predators, such as brown bear (regularly visiting the area from the Slovak side and the Bieszczady Mountains), lynx, wild cat, wolf, and river otter. In water fauna interesting animals include: river trout and bull-head. The Park and its buffer zone are abundant in amphibian and reptile species: spotted salamandra, newts, yellow-bellied toad, adder, smooth snake, and grass snake. Insects dominate among invertebrate. Rare and threatened species of butterflies (e.g. clouded apollo, scarce swallowtail, swallowtail) as well as beetles (e.g. Rosalia alpina, Cerambyx scopoli) require special attention. Presence of the butterfly - Brintesia circe is also a rarity. It is estimated that there are about 200 protected species living in the Park.

Material culture and tourism
The oldest traces of human presence in this part of the Beskid Niski are the remnants of a large castle from the 9th-10th Centuries in Brzezowa, on Walik hill, at the feet of Magura Wątkowska. It was one of the chain of early medieval castles located at the south-east borders of the state of Wiślanie. The ornaments in the landscape are Orthodox churches built by the ethnic group called "Łemkowie". Some of them turned into ruins and the only remaining landscape features are groups of trees and falling apart cemeteries. In some villages remnants of traditional architecture can be found, e.g. long cottages, so called "chyże", built by "Łemkowie" from thick logs of spruce or pine timber, alternately joined. In one of the cottages in Kolonia Olchowiec a small private museum of Łemk culture was opened. Attention should also be given to largely forgotten and ruined cemeteries from the time of the World War 1, with remains of thousands of people, including Poles killed as soldiers of Austrian, Prussian, and Russian armies. The tragic memorial of the World War 2 is the cemetery of 1,250 Jewish people killed by the Nazis in 1942 on the Ha3bów Pass.