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Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver

Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver

Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver

December 102017

Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver

The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver spans over a length of 9 kilometres and is embedded in the Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness, Ukraine. The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver, together with the tributary Tarsovskyy Stream, Polonskyy Stream and Bradul Stream, is a mountain river with the extraordinary scenery and is surrounded by the undisturbed temperate beech forests.

The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver (together with Mala Uholka WILDRiver and Velyka Uholka WILD River) is an excellent example of unmodified Carpathian mountain river. The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver is flowing through the Tereblya River down to the Tisa River.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 9 km Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver (together with Mala Uholka WILDRiver and Velyka Uholka WILDRiver) was audited in 2017 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
  • Wilderness: Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 29,000 ha
  • Length of WILDRiver: 9 km
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver is surrounded by old growth temperate beech forests
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 20,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 80

Biodiversity

Surrounding of the Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver is the largest contiguous old-grow beech forests in Europe. It is an area of a great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity depending on spontaneous natural process and ecosystem dynamics. The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver contains representatives of flora and fauna, typical for old-growth Carpathian beech forests. The area is a place of permanent population of the brown bears, wolves and lynxes. Typical dwellers are the black stork and eagle-owl. Rich variety of life can be found in the deadwood trunks, such as the protected alpine longicorn Rosalia beetle.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Access to Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver is permitted only for guided tours and for participants of workshops. The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver and Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness is located approx. 90 km from Uzhhorod and approx. 60 km from Ivano Frankivsk. The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver is accessible for cars and busses. There is no public trail in Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver.

 

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Kalkalpen WILDForest

Kalkalpen WILDForest

Kalkalpen WILDForest

December 102017

Kalkalpen WILDForest

The 5,251 ha Kalkalpen WILDForest consists of four areas (Hintergebirge, Bodinggraben, Urlach, Wilder Graben) with high valuable beech forests that are embedded within the boundaries of the Kalkalpen Wilderness. The borders of the Kalkalpen WILDForest are mainly composed of visble biogeophysical barriers. Urlach and Bodinggraben are both bounded by the mountain ridges of the Sengsengebirge.

The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an hotspot for biodiversity, depending on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an important reference area for comparisons with managed forest. Data from this forest provide an important basis for the evaluation and improvement of nature conservation and the forest management concept all over Europe. KalkalpenWILDForest is part of the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 5,251 ha Kalkalpen WILDForest was audited in 2017 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2025.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Kalkalpen National Park
  • Wilderness: Kalkalpen WILDForest
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Austria
  • Size of the protected area: 20,820 ha
  •  Size of the Wilderness: 5,251 ha hectares
  •  European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2015
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large contiguos area of old-growth beech and mixed forest, favourable habitat for wolf, bear and many other rare species
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 210,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 12,000

Biodiversity

The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an area of a great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity depending on spontaneous natural process and ecosystem dynamics. It contains representatives of flora and fauna, typical for old-growth beech forests. The most striking and impressive features of this forest are big trees, the broken tree stems covered with a variety of fungi and the deadwood trunks of fallen trees. Priority species include also the sporadically presence of wolf, the protected alpine long-horned Rosalia beetle, and the bear moth. In 1999, the Eurasian lynx was reintroduced in Nationalpark Kalkalpen. This was an important step for the return of the Eurasian lynx to the Alps.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Nationalpark Kalkalpen law states that the conventional form of tourism and hiking are not subject to

restrictions within the park. The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an important place from a tourism- and recreational perspective. Visitors and other recreational activities have a long tradition in Nationalpark Kalkalpen and the management has made great strides to minimize the negative impact of tourism, in particular in the Kalkalpen WILDForest. Mountain biking is directed outside of the Kalkalpen WILDForest with abandoned forest roads. Pitching tents is allowed in designated spots throughout the Nationalpark Kalkalpen.

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Hoverla Wilderness

Hoverla Wilderness

Hoverla Wilderness

December 102017

Hoverla Wilderness

The 4,477 ha Hoverla Wilderness is part of Carpathian National Nature Park. The area preserves the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes, typical natural araes and large complexes of unique mixed and conifer forests with presence of the large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx). Carpathian National Nature Park includes 3 large Wilderness, which qualify to become a member of European Wilderness Network: Hoverla Wilderness, Pip Ivan Wilderness and Siniak Wilderness.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 4,477 ha Hoverla Wilderness was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2016 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2019.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Carpathian National Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Hoverla Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 50,495 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 4, 477 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The large un-fragmented areas of old conifer forest with presence of large carnivores and extensive alpine meadows
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 110,000 Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness approx. 5,000

Biodiversity

The Hoverla Wilderness is the large areas with contiguous conifer forests. The Hoverla Wilderness contains rare old well protected forest. Peculiar and diverse  landscape has a high number of rare species. The area provides a safe refuge for native populations of all typical Carpathian carnivors such as brown bear, wolf, wildcat and lynx.

Hoverla Wilderness is without any management intervention already for several decades with the exeption of the surrounding of Hoverla Peak, which is excluded from the Hoverla Wilderness.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Hoverla Wilderness is located ca 140 km from Uzhhorod and ca 40 km from Ivano Frankivsk town. The area is accessible for cars and buses by the asphalt road. Close to the Hoverla Wilderness is the highest peak of Ukrainians Carpathian Mountains – Hoverla (2,061 m) attracting every year thousands of visitors. The rest of the Hoverla Wilderness is not accessible for public.

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Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest

Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest

Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest

December 102017

Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest

The 1,332 ha Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest is partially embedded in the Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness and in Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park, Ukraine. Ukraine contains excellent examples of WILDForest. These well protected WILDForests in the Trans-Carpathian region represent a biodiversity spectrum for all the Carpathian Mountains. Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest preserves the natural state of the beech forest in the central part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains. Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest is committed to protect self-regulated natural processes for several years. Recently, the park was added to the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 1,332 ha Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest was audited in 2015 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2025.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 6,101 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1,258 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2015
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Broadleaf beech forest and wild mountain creeks, old-growth beech forests, and peatbogs
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 2,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 100

Biodiversity

Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest is located in the north-eastern corner of the Carpathians. The purpose of the Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park is to protect the representative ecosystems of the eastern Carpathian region, which has high biodiversity, quality WILDForest as well as aesthetic, scientific, educational, recreational and health improving values. Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest is a home to many species, some endemic and rare in the Carpathian Mountains, including newts, white-back woodpecker, beaver, red deer, wild boar, squirrel, and lynx.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Due to strictly protected Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest, the visitors are not allowed to visit this area. Nevertheless, visitors have a wide range of opportunities in the park and can enjoy the very unique broadleaf beech forest. Several areas provide very similar experiences compared to remote Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest. The Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park has around 600 visitors annually, which is increasing slightly year after year. The majority of visitors are locals or from within the region. They use mainly areas for picnics or short walk. There are very few hikers who explore the park on their own with backpacks or even go camping.

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Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness

Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness

Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness

December 102017

Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness

The 1,332 ha Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness is embedded in the Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park, Ukraine. Ukraine contains excellent examples of Wilderness. These well protected Wilderness areas in the Trans-Carpathian region represent a biodiversity spectrum for all Carpathian Mountains. Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park with Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness is one of the most ambitious protected areas in Ukraine as they sought international recognition for the protection of its Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness for years. Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness preserves the natural state of the beech forest in the central part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains. Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness is committed to protect self-regulated natural processes for several years. Recently, the park was added to the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 1,332 ha Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness was audited in 2015 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2025.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 6,101 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1,332 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2015
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Broadleaf beech forest and wild mountain creeks, old-growth beech forests, and peatbogs
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 2,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 100

Biodiversity

Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness is located in the north-eastern corner of the Carpathians. The purpose of the Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park is to protect the representative ecosystems of the eastern Carpathian region, which has high biodiversity, quality Wilderness as well as aesthetic, scientific, educational, recreational and health improving values. Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness is a home to many species, some endemic and rare in the Carpathian Mountains, including newts, white-back woodpecker, beaver, red deer, wild boar, squirrel, and lynx.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Due to strictly protected Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness, the visitors are not allowed to visit this area. Nevertheless, visitors have a wide range of opportunities in the park and can enjoy the very unique broadleaf beech forest. Several areas provide very similar experiences compared to remote Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness. The Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park has around 600 visitors annually, which is increasing slightly year after year. The majority of visitors are locals or from within the region. They use mainly areas for picnics or short walk. There are very few hikers who explore the park on their own with backpacks or even go camping.

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Archipelago WILDCoast

Archipelago WILDCoast

Archipelago WILDCoast

November 222017

The Archipelago WILDCoast is located at the edge of open Baltic Sea. It is a unique example of a large contiguous marine WILDCoast without any extractive use already for several decades. The area is even closed for visitors (no-go zone).

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Vilm WILDIsland

Vilm WILDIsland

Vilm WILDIsland

November 222017

Vilm WILDIsland

The 162 ha Vilm WILDIsland is part of South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve, Germany. The South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve has Wilderness potential in its small core zones, like the Vilm WILDIsland, and the forest area of the Granitz Nature Reserve, which is over 1,000 ha. Vilm WILDIsland is covered by old broadleaf forests with small lagoons, sandy beaches and attractive coastal features. Vilm WILDIsland is located five kilometres east from the Rügen Island. It is the oldest protected area in Germany, and has been a Nature Reserve since 1936. Since 1990 it is part of the core zones of the South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve. The ancient forests on Vilm WILDIsland have never been managed by forestry. It is one of the most natural forest stand and wildest coasts in the South Baltic region. The strictly protected WILDIsland Vilm with a non-intervention management has developed in natural succession for many decades.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 162 ha Vilm WILDIsland was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2017 and meets the Gold Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2018.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve
  • Wilderness: Vilm WILDIsland
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Gold
  • Country: Germany
  • Size of the protected area: 23,500 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 171 ha: 94 ha terrestrial, 77 ha marine
  • Size of the Wilderness: 162 ha: 85 ha terrestrial, 77 ha marine
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Small island located close to the Rügen Island with old beech and mixed forest and well protected beaches
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 900,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 10,000

Biodiversity

Vilm WILDIsland represents a piece of native wild forest and coastal landscape of high integrity. Vilm WILDIsland has great importance as a local hotspot of biodiversity that depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. It contains representative flora and fauna species, typical for ancient forests and coastal habitats. It is for example a permanent nesting place of the white-tailed sea eagle. The shallow coastal waters surrounding Vilm WILDIsland provide a resting area for migratory birds and a safe refuge for various species of geese, like the greylag, bean and greater white-fronted geese.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve is located 20 km north-east of Stralsund, the main access point to the Rügen Island and the biosphere reserve and Vilm WILDIsland. The area of biosphere reserve is accessible by train, but also by car and buses. The main attraction of the South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve is the significant and diverse cultural landscape, including coast and sea, representing almost 95% of the biosphere reserve area. Visitors have many options to start with easy, moderate as well as demanding hiking trips to explore the diversity of this area. Access to Vilm WILDIsland is permitted only for guided tours and for participants of workshops at the International Academy for Nature Conservation of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz – BfN). Visitors from guided tours are impressed and enlightened to experience Vilm WILDIsland.

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Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest

The 7,117 ha Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is part of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The area preserves the largest area of unique old-growth beech forest of Europe and the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve includes three additional large areas with Wilderness potential: Svydovec, Chornohora, Maramorosh. The Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is already a certified Bronze Wilderness. Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest represent an outstanding example of undisturbed temperate beech forests and provides a sample of the pure stands of European beech. The area contains a large genetic reservoir of beech, on which many species are dependent and can be associated with in this forest habitat. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is part of the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 7,117 ha Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest was audited in 2017 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest also includes 3 WILDRivers – upper watersheds of Mala Uholka River (7 km), Velyka Uholka River (8 km) and Shyrokyy Luh River (9 km). A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2027.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
  • Wilderness: Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 57,880 hectares
  • Size of the Wilderness: 7,117 hectares
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large contiguos area of old-growth beech and mixed forest, favourable habitat for wolf, bear and many other rare species
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 20,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 1,000

Biodiversity

The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is the largest areas with contiguous old-grow beech forests in Europe. It is an area of a great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity depending on spontaneous natural process and ecosystem dynamics. It contains representatives of flora and fauna, typical for old-growth Carpathian beech forests. The most striking and impressive features of this forest are big trees, the broken tree stems covered with a variety of fungi and the deadwood trunks of fallen trees. The area is a place of permanent extensive population of the brown bears, wolves and lynxes. Typical dwellers are the black stork and eagle-owl. Rich variety of life can be found in the deadwood trunks, such as the protected alpine longicorn Rosalia beetle.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Access to Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is permitted only for guided tours and for participants of workshops. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is located approx. 90 km from Uzhhorod and approx. 60 km from Ivano Frankivsk. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is accessible for cars and busses. Two nature trails, in Mala Uholka and Velyka Uholka, provide a unique experience in Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest. The trails lead through primeval beech forest, passing the caves in limestone massives, and the karst bridge.

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Soomaa Wilderness

Soomaa Wilderness

Soomaa Wilderness

November 172017

Soomaa Wilderness

The 11,530 ha Soomaa Wilderness is embedded into the Soomaa National Park, located in the south-eastern corner of Estonia. The Soomaa National Park, situated in Transitional Estonia, was created to protect large pristine raised bogs, flood plain grasslands, wet forests and meandering rivers. Soomaa Wilderness consist of four large peat-bogs: Kuresoo, Valgeraba, Ordi and Kikerpera. The bogs are separated from each other by the Pärnu, Halliste, Navesti, Raudna, Lemmjõgi, and Kõpu rivers. Alongside these rivers, floodplain meadows and floodplain forests occur. Soomaa Wilderness is the most valuable part of the remaining extensive peat-bog Wilderness in south-west Estonia. Kuresoo Bog is one of the two best surviving large bogs in Estonia with high species diversity. The Soomaa Wilderness is a Ramsar site of protected wetland. Soomaa Wilderness is known for having five unique seasons, the fifth season being the high-water season. The waters here are extraordinary. A number of local rivers from surrounding uplands, meet in a relatively small area between the bogs and swamp forests. Once or twice a year, when the snow melts across the country, the rivers fill with melting water and break their banks.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 11,530 ha Soomaa Wilderness was audited in 2009 and 2011 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2021.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Soomaa National Park
  • Wilderness: Soomaa Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Estonia
  • Size of the protected area: 39,640 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 11,530 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2011
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large active raised peat-bogs, wetlands and alluvial forests
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 50,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 15,000

Biodiversity

Soomaa Wilderness is an extensive Wilderness, containing large peat-bogs and thick forests interlace by numerous rivers and the floodplains that border them. The Soomaa Wilderness is a home and breading area for several mammals that are extinct or very rare in other parts of Europe. The most numerous species of the large mammals are the roe deer, elk, and wild boar. Beaver, lynx, wolf, and bear are found in Soomaa Wilderness as well. The alluvial meadows and forests that cover the riverbanks are of great botanical value. Approximately 200 species have been recorded, including gladiolus, iris, and sedum. The unique swamp forests (carrs) surrounding the bogs are also full of rare and threatened species.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Soomaa National Park and particularly Soomaa Wilderness are offering a unique experience. It’s a good place to be if you enjoy bird watching as 185 species of birds have been recorded in Soomaa. Among rare and endangered species the most impressive species are the Black Grouse, the Willow Grouse, the Golden Eagle, the Black Stork, the Lesser Spotted Eagle and the Great Snipe. In the edges of the bogs, Capercaillie breed and further into the forest, the nature in Soomaa National Park offers home for several woodpecker species, owls and many others. During migration season the bogs are a staging site for geese and swans. Visitor birdwatching programmes are regularly combined with canoeing and bog walking trips with services offered by local partners.

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Rila Wilderness

Rila Wilderness

Rila Wilderness

November 172017

Rila Wilderness

The 16,222 ha Rila Wilderness is embedded in the Rila National Park, the largest national park in Bulgaria. The park is located in the south-western part of the country. Rila National Park was established in 1992 to protect several ecosystems and Wilderness of national importance. The park’s altitude varies from 800 meters near Blagoevgrad to 2,925 meters at Musala Peak, the highest summit in the Balkan Peninsula.

Rila Wilderness is one of the largest and most valuable Wilderness areas in Europe. It includes four large Wilderness areas – Parangalica, Central Rila Reserve, Ibar and Skakavitsa.  All these areas apply non-intervention management as the underlying principle for Wilderness management and all these areas fully meet the European Wilderness Quality Standard. Rila Wilderness covers a large part of the Rila mountain range with high peaks, deep valleys, forests and mountain pastures. The endemic flora and invertebrate fauna of the Wilderness are of global significance. Rila Wilderness is also rich with high mountain glacial lakes. Of particular value are the forest ecosystems with their high percentage of naturalness, which have endemic forest complexes including Macedonian pine and wide expanses of dwarf pine at the timberline.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 16,222 ha Rila Wilderness was audited in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2020.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Rila National Park
  • Wilderness: Rila Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 81,046 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 16,222 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2010
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The old growth mixed forest, alpine meadows, deep canyons, gorges, waterfalls, rare and species such as wolf, bear, capercaillie, hazel grouse, and eagles
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 60,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 25,000

Biodiversity

The Rila Wilderness falls within the Rodope montane mixed forest terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. Forests occupy more than half of the Rila Wilderness area. There are approximately 1,400 species of vascular plants, 282 species of mosses and 130 species of freshwater algae recorded in Rila National Park. The fauna is represented by 48 species of mammals, 99 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and amphibians and 5 species of fish, as well as 2,934 species of invertebrates, of which 282 are endemic.

Rila Wilderness is home to rare and endangered wildlife species and communities, self-regulating ecosystems of biological diversity, as well as historical sites of global cultural and scientific significance. The terrain includes large high-mountain meadows, vertical rock faces, precipices, deep canyons, waterfalls, as well as numerous peaks, of which many are situated at altitudes of 2,000 meters and higher.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Rila Wilderness is a well-known spot for tourists, naturalists, and scientists. A set of specialized routes including equestrians and mountain bike trails have been developed, as well as thematic routes for bird, plant, and large mammal watching. The trails crossing the Rila Wilderness are carefully managed and monitored. There are a number of tourist chalets scattered throughout the Rila National Park, some of them close to the border of Rila Wilderness, operated by the Bulgarian Tourism Union.

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Retezat Wilderness

Retezat Wilderness

Retezat Wilderness

November 172017

Retezat Wilderness

The 10,440 ha Retezat Wilderness is embedded in the Retezat National Park, the oldest national park in Romania. The park is located in the south-western part of the Carpathian Mountains. It contains more than 15 peaks over 2,300 metres and over 100 lakes. The park was created in 1935, when the Romanian government set aside an area that was part of the Retezat Mountains and created the country’s first National Park. The Retezat Wilderness protects one of the last remaining pristine part of Carpathian Mountains and is also an important model to protect Wilderness all over the Carpathians. The Gemenele (“The Twins” in Romanian) is a scientific reserve containing the strictly protected Retezat Wilderness already for several decades. This Retezat Wilderness is protecting an intact primeval forest and landscape modelling by glaciers in the past.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 10,440 ha Retezat Wilderness was audited in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard.  The park was scrutinized to several complaints of legal and illegal logging activities. Their certification and membership of the European Wilderness Network was reviewed in 2017. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2020.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Retezat National Park
  • Wilderness: Retezat Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Romania
  • Size of the protected area: 38,138 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 10,440 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2010
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Old growth conifer forest, steep granite and limestone mountains, wild mountain creeks, glacial lakes, favourable habitat for rare species such as bear, wolf, and eagles
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 55,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 25,000

Biodiversity

Retezat Wilderness is a well preserved protected area that represents the natural values of the Southern Carpathian region. It has high quality environment values, like rich endemism, large size, well preserved forests, high number of endangered species and species that gives the area a very important role for biodiversity conservation and the development of natural ecological processes.

The flora of Retezat Wilderness consists of approximately 1,190 plant species, of which 130 have the “endangered” or “vulnerable” status. In Retezat Wilderness, you’ll find one of the last remaining pristine forests in Europe, homeland for all Carpathian wilderness iconic species. More precisely, 55 species of mammals can be found in Retezat, accounting for 23% of all European terrestrial mammals.

Wolves, brown bear, wild boar, Eurasian lynx, wildcat, chamois, marmot, roe deer and red deer, as well as small carnivore species such as badger and otter found suitable habitats in the park. Soaring through the sky, you will find different species of eagles on the hunt for a meal.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Retezat National Parks and particularly Retezat Wilderness are offering unique experiences in unspoiled Carpathian Wilderness. In the last years, several new tourism businesses developed around the park and several of them focus on providing experiences in the Retezat Wilderness. Hikers will find that they share trails with many of the big animals, including chamois, red and roe deer, wild boars, bear, wolves, and foxes, and may come across lynx tracks. Bird watchers will be treated with over 120 species of nesting birds in Retezat Wilderness.

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Podyjí WILDRiver

Podyjí WILDRiver

Podyjí WILDRiver

November 172017

Podyjí WILDRiver

The 254 ha Podyjí WILDRiver spans over a length of 2 kilometers and is embedded in the Podyjí National Park, Czech Republic. It is the smallest National Park in the Czech Republic and located in the south-eastern part of the country, at the border with Thayatal National Park in Austria. The Podyjí region has been systematically protected since 1978, when the Podyjí Protected Landscape Area was declared. In 1991, the Podyjí National Park was declared including the most valuable part of the former Podyjí Protected Landscape Area. Podyjí National Park has a good potential for expansion of Wilderness and Podyjí WILDRiver. A significant part of the area (85%) is covered with forests, of which significant percentage is currently left to spontaneous development. The aim in the coming years is to let 75% of Podyjí National Park to develop under spontaneous succession. The Podyjí WILDRiver is only accessible to the public on the marked trails and roads. In the restoration zone, temporary management interventions are being carried out in order to reach the near-natural state of forest stands.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 254 ha Podyjí WILDRiver was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2017 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2019.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Podyjí National Park
  • Wilderness: Podyjí WILDRiver
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Size of the protected area: 6,276 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 254 ha, over 2 km
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Well-protected river, surrounded by mixed deciduous forests in the lower continental region Pannonia lowland, left to spontaneous development
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 200,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 120,000

Biodiversity

The territory of Podyjí WILDRiver and Podyjí National Park has a very high biodiversity. There are approximately 1,300 vascular plants species, nearly 1,000 macroscopic fungi species, about 300 species of lichens and 300 species of mosses, 209 bird species, 66 mammal species, 7 reptile species, 25 fish species, 13 amphibian species, and around 10,000 species of invertebrates. Also, Podyjí National Park forests have an extremely high diversity. There are 89 forest types, like oak and hornbeam-oak forests, relict pine forests, spring alluviums alder forest, and the native beech forests in the highest parts of the national park.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Podyjí National Park lies in a very densely populated area with very good transport accessibility, 80 km from Vienna, 180 km from Prague. The park itself is not accessible for cars, but is accessible by a dense network of marked footpaths for cyclists and pedestrians. The paths lead into the Podyjí WILDRiver and therefore the character of the area can be seen from several attractive sightseeing points. A system of information panels in the field provide the visitors with valuable information about the area.

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Peneda-Gerês Wilderness

Peneda-Gerês Wilderness

Peneda-Gerês Wilderness

November 172017

Peneda-Gerês Wilderness

The 5,000 of Peneda-Gerês Wilderness is embedded into the Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal. The Peneda-Gerês National Park was created in 1971 due to its national and international scientific values, with the aim to protect the existing human and natural resources. Since the Peneda-Gerês National Park was established in 1971, it was acknowledged as the wildest area of Portugal. The area also has a cultural history from prehistoric times through Roman occupation to the present day. The cultural influences represented a challenge for the National Park in achieving a Wilderness Quality Standard without extractive use. As there is currently grazing in the large part of the potential Wilderness, a contract was signed allowing for a withdrawal of grazing over a 10-year period to ultimately expand Peneda-Gerês Wilderness. However, in the view of the verifiers it was also considered necessary for the park to implement a Transitional Core Zone Implementation Plan to facilitate the reversion to a natural state as close as possible.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 5,000 ha Peneda-Gerês Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2007, 2008 and 2011 and meets the Gold Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2021.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Peneda-Gerês National Park
  • Wilderness: Peneda-Gerês Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Gold
  • Country: Portugal
  • Size of the protected area: 70,290 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 5,000 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2011
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The frontier between the Euro-Siberian and Mediterranean regions with four distinct biomes: oak forest, shrubbery, marshes and riparian vegetation. Wild, inaccessible landscape with rare and unique species, such as the wild ponies “Garranos”, wolf, otter, and golden eagle
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 250,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 25,000

Biodiversity

The foothills of the Serra da Gerês along with the foothills of the Serra da Cabreira (lands below the Tâmega, Ave and Cávado watersheds) constitute the frontier between the Euro-Siberian and Mediterranean regions, that grant on the Peneda-Gerês Wilderness floral and phyto-geographic importance. The floristic diversity includes 823 vascular plant species that occur in 128 types of natural vegetation. In the oak forests, which are common throughout the park, the following trees besides oak can be found: butcher’s broom, maple and Portuguese laurel.

Many big mammals and birds significantly suffered in this Peneda-Gerês Wilderness, such as the population of grey wolf and the golden eagle. The bear disappeared from the region in the 17th century and the extinct Portuguese ibex, locally known as Gerês goat, was last seen last in the 1890s. More than a century later, its vacant ecological niche was reoccupied naturally by Spanish ibexes coming from Galicia, and their population numbered about 100 animals by 2011.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Peneda-Gerês Wilderness is providing the Mediterranean type of Wilderness and is offering the unique opportunity to observe spontaneous Wilderness restoration in a Mediterranean country, as several thousand hectares of sporadically used and abandoned grazing lands are part of the existing Peneda-Gerês Wilderness area.

Peneda-Gerês Wilderness is offering a wide spectrum of local services and opportunities, not only to enjoy this corner of Portugal, but also to learn about and explore Peneda-Gerês Wilderness. Visits include tasting the local gastronomy, pass by an old village, making a canoeing tour and bathing on amazing landscapes.

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Paanajärvi Wilderness

Paanajärvi Wilderness

Paanajärvi WIlderness

November 172017

Paanajärvi Wilderness

The 30,000 ha Paanajärvi Wilderness is embedded in the Paanajärvi National Park, Russia. Paanajärvi Wilderness is located right at the Arctic Circle and preserves the representative examples of natural values of the whole Karelia region, at the Finnish–Russian border. There is a well-developed Sister Park Program with the Oulanka National Park at the Finnish side. Paanajärvi Wilderness protects a large piece of typical and pristine Scandinavian and Russian taiga, the region with vast forests and hundreds of pristine lakes and rivers. The Boreal forests with lakes reach into far horizons with no sign of human presence, any roads or towns. This great example of pristine and remote wilderness favours the existence of an abundance of vegetation.

The Paanajärvi Wilderness is well protected under the Russian federal law. There is also a great potential to enlarge the Paanajärvi Wilderness in the National Park limits, because the majority of the park is an area without any extractive use.  Limited harvesting operations were carried out around the rural villages in the surroundings approximately 80 years ago. The area was without any human influence in the last 60 years.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 30,000 ha Paanajärvi Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2019.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Paanajärvi National Park
  • Wilderness: Paanajärvi Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Russia
  • Size of the protected area: 104,371 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 30,000 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2009
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Boreal taiga, lakes and clear river, native predators like wolf, bear, lynx, and wolverine
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 6,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 2,500

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Biodiversity

The Paanajärvi Wilderness provides safe refuge for many species typical for this region, such as elk, lynx, hare, and lemming. Besides this the boreal forests are home to brown bear, wild reindeer and wolverine. Altogether, 36 mammal species inhabit this area. During winter times, you can find otters as well as wolf tracks along the rivers. Many rare birds nest in the Paanajärvi Wilderness, such as golden eagle. The flora of Paanajärvi Wilderness consists of approximately 1,190 plant species, of which 130 have an endangered or vulnerable status. Most of the forest in the park is completely untouched.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Paanajärvi National Parks and particularly Paanajärvi Wilderness are offering a unique experience in unspoiled Karelian region. In the last years, more and more visitors are heading to this area, particularly from nearby Finland, to learn what a real large-scale boreal Wilderness means. Visitors can come across the great grey owl, which protects its nest fearlessly. On the open mountain summits, they can meet local courageous inhabitants: the lemming and ptarmigan. But first of all, they can enjoy the vast panoramic view over the unspoiled Paanajärvi Wilderness full of conifer forest, crystal clear lakes and wild rivers.

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Oulanka Wilderenss

Oulanka Wilderenss

Oulanka Wilderness

November 172017

Oulanka Wilderenss

The 12,924 ha Oulanka Wilderness is embedded in the Oulanka National Park, Finland. The Oulanka National Park is located close to the Arctic Circle at the border with Russia. The park is traversed by two large rivers flowing east, the Rivers Oulankajoki and Kitkajoki with several tributaries, such as the Rivers Maaninkajoki and Savinajoki. Oulanka Wilderness is separated in three sections by the management, which are not ecologically fragmented: Border Zone (2,200 ha), Main Section (10,724 ha), and Sukerijärvi (2,103 ha).

Oulanka Wilderness is located in Reindeer Husbandry Area. The traditional Finnish concept of everyman’s right and reindeer husbandry significantly impacted identification of the Wilderness in Oulanka National Park. The everyman’s right concept allows free right of access to the land and waterways, and the right to collect natural products such as wild berries and mushrooms, no matter who owns the land. These rights also generally apply to foreign citizens. The overall frame of everyman’s right is that all actions must be harmless to nature and landowner. The Oulanka Wilderness Program identified in 2007 the Oulanka Wilderness, fitting to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and guaranteed an ecological link with Paanajärvi Wilderness at the Russian side of border.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 12,924 ha Oulanka Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2012 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Oulanka National Park
  • Wilderness: Oulanka Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Finland
  • Size of the protected area: 29,000 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 12,924 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2012
  • Wilderness Quality and Uniqueness: Old growth northern boreal pine forest dominated by scots pine forest, Oulanka   River, mires and swamps
  • Number of visitors per year to the National Park: approx. 175,000
  • Number of visitors per year to Wilderness: approx. 15,000

Biodiversity

Oulanka is full of versatile and demanding plant species and partly due to calcium-rich bedrock there are many rare species. The difference in temperature between the high rising fells and low river valleys make an ideal environment for several rare plants like the park’s emblem: the calypso. Another threatened plant, but common in this area is silene or lady’s-slipper. In Oulanka’s meadows, you may catch a glimpse of the endangered Copper Violet Butterfly. Riverbeds and alluvial meadows are home to rare butterflies and 100 bird species nest in the park. Rare birds like the Siberian Jay and the Capercaillie also take refuge in these herb-rich forests. The area hosts several large herbivores like the moose and the half-tame reindeer. Smaller mammals are also typical in the area. Of the large carnivores, the bear inhabits Oulanka National Park. The wolf, wolverine and lynx, however, are quite rare. In the Wilderness, the golden eagle and the white-tailed eagle are common.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Attractions that offer unforgettable experiences in unspoilt Oulanka Wilderness play a vital role in the context of increases in nature tourism, summer tourism, and the importance of European Wilderness. Discover the boreal forests alone or with a group and find yourself amazed by it pure beauty. The Russian frontier runs along the eastern edge of Oulanka National Park, and just over the border lies attractive Russia’s Paanajärvi National Park, representing huge potential for cross-border nature tourism. Oulanka National Park already collaborates closely with its twin park Paanajärvi.

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Majella Wilderness

Majella Wilderness

Majella Wilderness

November 172017

Majella Wilderness

The 17,000 ha Majella Wilderness is embedded into the Majella National Park, Italy. The Majella National Park is situated in the Abruzzo Region of Central Italy, one of the most impressive, wild and extensive mountain ranges of the Apennines, containing more than 30 peaks higher than 2,000 m. Majella Wilderness is home to an amazingly large and rich Wilderness. It is including the most inaccessible and wildest area of the Central Apennine. The Wilderness consists of limestone mountains such as Majella, Morrone, Porrara, Pizzalto and Rotella, separated by valleys and karst plateaus. The elevation range is from 130 to 2,793 m (Mt. Amaro). Majella Wilderness is home to several glacial relicts, which had a widespread distribution during the quaternary glaciations, and are now represented by the dwarf poppy, capillary sedge and alpine aster especially at high altitudes.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 17,000 ha Majella Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2020.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Majella National Park
  • Wilderness: Majella Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Italy
  • Size of the protected area: 74,095 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 17,000 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2010
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Apennine beech forests with yew and ilex, dwarf pine and rhododendron, alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands, deep canyons, large animals (chamois, wolf, marsican bear), and endemic species of plants
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 530,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 125,000

Biodiversity

Majella Wilderness has one of the best-preserved Apennine ecosystems. Due to its altitude, inaccessibility and prominence, most of the Majella National Park is uninhabited and so there are less human-made structures, including skiing resorts and roads, compared to other national parks in Italy. Nearly half of all mammal species found in Italy are present in Majella Wilderness. The Apennine wolf, red deer, roe deer, wildcats, chamois and brown bear are all found here. The golden eagle is often seen and other spectacular sights include the white-backed woodpecker, the honey-buzzard, lanner falcon and the dotterel.

The vegetation of this park is remarkable as it hosts 36% of the Italian flora and 22% of the European flora. Its 2,114 flora species are distributed in more than 50 different habitats and altitudes. More than 142 of these species are found nowhere else in the world. Beech trees are predominant in the forests and often offers spectacular sceneries, like in the Wood of St. Antonio, a frequented place for visitors with majestic century-old trees.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Majella Wilderness is a well-known destination for local and international visitors and provides an opportunity for pleasant experiences. The Majella National Park contains about 500 kilometres of hiking trails through the mountains. Majella Wilderness is a unique example of mountain Wilderness in the heart of the Apennine mountains and the first certified Wilderness in the Mediterranean. Spectacular canyons, dense beech forest and mountain tops provide extraordinary Wilderness experiences.

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Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest

Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest

Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest

November 162017

Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest

The 1,370 ha Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is embedded in the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, located in western Ukraine. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve includes three additional large areas with Wilderness and WILDForest potential: Svydovec, Chornohora, and Maramorosh. Uholka-Sirokyy Luh Wilderness is already a certified Platinum Wilderness and member of the European Wilderenss Network. The Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is an hotspot for biodiversity, depending on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The old-growth forests of Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is an important reference area for comparisons with managed forest. Data from this forest provide an important basis for the evaluation and improvement of nature conservation and the forest management concept all over Europe. The Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is part of the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 1,370 ha Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2017 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2019.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
  • Wilderness: Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 57,880 hectares
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1,370 hectares
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Contiguous area of old-growth beech and mixed forest, favourable habitat for wolf, bear and many other rare species
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 20,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 100

Biodiversity

Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest represent an outstanding example of undisturbed temperate beech forests and provides a sample of the pure stands of European beech. The area contains a large genetic reservoir of beech, on which many species are dependent and can be associated with in this forest habitat. It contains representative species of flora and fauna, typical for old-growth Carpathian beech forests. The most striking and impressive features of this forest are big trees, the broken tree stems covered with fungi and the deadwood trunks of fallen trees. The area is a place of permanent extensive population of the brown bears, wolves and lynxes. Typical dwellers are the black stork and eagle-owl. Rich variety of life can be found in the deadwood trunks, such as the protected alpine longicorn Rosalia beetle.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Access to the restoration zone of Carpathian Biosphere Reserve WILDForest is permitted for guided tours and also for individuals or groups of travelers. The area is located approx. 130 km from Uzhhorod and approx. 140 km from Ivano Frankivsk. The area is accessible for cars and buses. The trail through the restoration zone of Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest provides a unique WILDForest experience. The trails lead through old beech forest, passing the limestone massives, and ends up on steep cliffs with a wide panaroma. Hiking the trail, also because of safety, is recommended with a professional guide.

 

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Küre Wilderness
November 162017

Küre Wilderness

The 26,162 ha Küre Wilderness is embedded in the Küre Mountains National Park, located in northern Turkey. The park stretches over the mountain range of Küre Mountains and is extend over the Kastamonu and Bartin Province. The Küre Wilderness is well-known in Turkey because of its intact forests, wildlife, endemic plant species, caves, canyons, and waterfalls. The Küre Wilderness is also globally important for nature conservation. It is one of the 9 forest hot spots in Turkey with its natural values, Wilderness, geological features, landscape and cultural values.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 26,126 ha Küre Wilderness was audited in 2012 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. The European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Küre Mountains National Park
  • Wilderness: Küre Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Turkey
  • Size of the protected area: 37,750 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 26,162 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2012
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Old-growth mixed forest, deep canyons, gorges, caves, canyons, waterfalls. Rare species include bear, wolf, and Egyptian vulture
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 10,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 5,000

Biodiversity

The forest ecosystem of Küre Wilderness located on a karst bedrock is dominated by coniferous and deciduous trees. In small openings in the forest, the herbaceous and bushy plants are dominant. The combination of different ecological factors resulted in various types of ecosystems. The biological importance of Küre Mountains National Park is bound to the fact that it offers different habitats for different animals. A stunning 48 out of 160 mammal species that live in Turkey, including the wildcat, otter, brown bear and deer live here. As for birds, 129 different species have been documented. Among these the Egyptian vulture, a globally endangered species. High cliffs with wide and deep valleys are proper habitats for vultures, falcons, eagles and night raptorial birds. However, the area is also important for waterfowls that breed and spend the night by the nearby seashore, and for temperate zone forest species.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Küre Mountains National Park is Turkey’s well-known eco-tourism centre and it offers an excellent Wilderness experiences, such as canyons crossing, observing waterfalls or visiting caves. Exploring the amazing canyon system of the Küre Wilderness is one of the best adventure for everyone who visits this Turkish Wilderness. Observing magnificent waterfalls also belongs to the visitors’ favourite activities. The most well-known of these is Ilica Waterfall, located near Ilica village. In the secluded thick forests of Kurucasile visitors find the Gölderesi Waterfall and in Bartin region the scenic Ulukaya Waterfall.

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Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness

The 5,600 ha Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness is a large coherent nature conservation area, which provides good conditions for a re-naturalization of previous military training grounds with a potential to become a prime Wilderness in Germany. Königsbrücker Heide has a very good potential to expand the Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness. The Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness has not actively been managed for more than 15 years. It provides a unique experience of natural spontaneous dynamics and implementation of non-intervention management.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 5,600 ha Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2014 and meets the Silver Wilderness Quality Standard. The European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2019.

Wilderness information

  1. Protected area: Naturschutzgebiete Königsbrücker Heide
  2. Wilderness: Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness
  3. Wilderness Quality Standard: Silver
  4. Country: Saxony, Germany
  5. Size of the protected area: 6,921 ha
  6. Size of the Wilderness: 5,600 ha
  7. European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2014
  8. Wilderness Uniqueness: High diversity in habitat types and abundance of plant and animal species. Formerly a military training ground, the large area has been s left alone over the last 15 years for natural spontaneous development.
  9. Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 93,000
  10. Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 15,000

Biodiversity

The Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness is located on the transition from hill to lowland landscapes and includes extremely dry, damp and wetland areas. This results in the diversity of habitats as well as abundance of plant and animal species. In the Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness live a certain number of threatened and endangered animals. For example, the area is re-populated by the wolf, the beaver and the otter. There is also a large population of roe and red deer, wild boar and red fox. Many bird species can be found in this area such as the hoopoe, kingfisher, the golden oriole and woodlark. A characteristic bird for Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness is the nightjar. Currently, there are about 100 nightjar breeding pairs in this area.

 Wilderness Tourism Experience

Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness is located approx. 30 km from Dresden and is accessible for cars and buses due to the good asphalt roads. However, the Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness inherited a network of road and scattered unexploded munition from the past military activities. Large amounts of this were removed, but due to safety reasons the area is not open for tourism.

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Kalkalpen Wilderness
November 162017

Kalkalpen Wilderness

The 13,034 ha Kalkalpen Wilderness is embedded in the Nationalpark Kalkalpen, Austria. Nationalpark Kalkalpen is a large protected area, located in the north-eastern Limestone Alps in Upper Austria. The park consists of the two mountain ranges Sengsengebirge and Reichraminger Hintergebirge. Kalkalpen Wilderness features the largest forest region in central Europe and the largest karst in Austria. It is a colourful mosaic consisting of pristine forests, hidden gorges and untouched mountain streams.

The long-term vision is to protect dynamic Wilderness. Successful implementation of this vision illustrates current achievements, when the midterm goals – to create a protected area – were established and had been partially achieved. Practical outcomes of this vision will be that 75% of the national park area will reach the Wilderness standard. Within the Kalkalpen Wilderness, there is a smaller designated WILDForest with a unique beech forest character. Recently, the Nationalpark Kalkalpen was therefore added to the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 13,034 ha Kalkalpen Wilderness was audited in 2015 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2025.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Nationalpark Kalkalpen
  • Wilderness: Kalkalpen Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Austria
  • Size of the protected area: 20,820 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 13,034 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2015
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The large contiguous area of old growth mixed and conifer forest in central Europe with presence of large carnivores
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 210,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 40,000

Biodiversity

Kalkalpen Wilderness is a large contiguous piece of wild land and it includes several important habitats types, such as conifers, mixed and broadleaf forest, alpine pastures and rocks. The flora of Kalkalpen Wilderness and the Nationalpark Kalkalpen represents 927 vascular plant species, which have been documented through biotope mapping. This represents about one third of all plant species that exist in Austria.

Priority species include also the sporadically presence of brown bear, the protected alpine long-horned Rosalia beetle, and the bear moth. In 1999, the Eurasian lynx was reintroduced in Nationalpark Kalkalpen. This was an important step for the return of the Eurasian lynx to the Alps.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Nationalpark Kalkalpen law states that the conventional form of tourism and hiking are not subject to restrictions within the park. The Kalkalpen Wilderness is an important place from a tourism- and recreational perspective. Visitors and other recreational activities have a long tradition in Nationalpark Kalkalpen and the management has made great strides to minimize the negative impact of tourism, in particular in the Kalkalpen Wilderness. Canoeing is not possible because of the steepness and ruggedness of relevant river sections. Mountain biking is directed to the Kalkalpen Wilderness transition zone with abandoned forest roads. Paragliding is forbidden by the regulations of the Nationalpark Kalkalpen, which do not allow for any aerial traffic for sports. Pitching tents is allowed in designated spots throughout the Nationalpark Kalkalpen.

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Jasmund WILDCoast

Jasmund WILDCoast

JASMUND WILDCoast

November 162017

Jasmund WILDCoast

The 806 ha Jasmund WILDCoast is embedded into the core zone of Jasmund National Park, Germany. Jasmund National Park is an iconic national park in Germany due to its magnificent scenery of the stunning coastline. The Jasmund WILDCoast is a compact and complete ecosystem of chalk cliffs, a sea coast, and a narrow strip of sea. “Let nature be nature” is the main slogan of Jasmund National Park. Recently, Jasmund National Park was added to the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 806 ha Jasmund WILDCoast was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2016 and 2017 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2019.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Jasmund National Park
  • Wilderness: Jasmund WILDCoast
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Germany
  • Size of the protected area: 3,072 ha: Size of the Wilderness
  • 806 ha: 350 ha terrestrial, and 456 ha marine
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Chalk cliffs with beech forest on top, narrow strip of sea, and a wild sea coast with not fishing
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 1,000,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 700,000

Biodiversity

Thanks to the effects of climate, terrain and soil, the Jasmund National Park has an unusually broad range of habitats. The beech forests colonise a wide spectrum of locations that are rich or poor in nutrient content, dry or wet, and on chalk as well as outwash substrates. Different bog types are incorporated in the forest like mosaics, and the chalk plateau is crossed by a network of streams. During the last ice age, the Jasmund chalk substrate was covered and compressed by glaciers several times. In the post-glacial period when the Baltic Sea developed, the unusually dynamic chalk coast of the forest landscape emerged steeply from the sea, forming Jasmund WILDCoast.

The wide variety of habitats is the basis for the great wealth of flora and fauna. The beech forests are found at their natural borders at Jasmund WILDCoast. Remarkable are also the rare lady’s slipper and the coralroot. The peregrine falcon nests on the slopes of the chalk cliffs, as well as several colonies of house martins. On Jasmund WILDCoast you may encounter the fallow deer and spot the majestic white-tailed eagle. Also the marine habitats along Jasmund WILDCoast are very important and rich in biodiversity. Here, nature is left to its own.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The chalk cliffs of Jasmund WILDCoast are a cradle of tourism in Germany and for more than two centuries a magnet attracting visitors. Attractive scenery, wild coasts and high cliffs together with rare forms of beech forest attract large amounts of visitors every year. The central information point is the Königsstuhl National Park Centre. This center provides information fully in the line with park’s philosophy and long-term objective “Let nature be nature”. A wide portfolio of programs conveys the beauty and uniqueness of Jasmund WILDCoast at the highest possible level in order to achieve a lasting awareness of Jasmund WILDCoast in all visitors.

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Hohe Tauern Wilderness

Hohe Tauern Wilderness

Hohe Tauern Wilderness

November 162017

Hohe Tauern Wilderness

The 8,465 ha Hohe Tauern Wilderness is located in the south-western part of Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Salzburg. The Hohe Tauern Wilderness is a landscape as it used to be all over the Alps after the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. It is a large contiguous piece of Wilderness and it includes several important habitats types, such as abandoned alpine pastures, bare rocks, glaciers and freshly exposed land after glacier retreat. The preservation of alpine and glaciated Wilderness has been targeted as a priority and the natural re-wilding is the main tool for the preservation of Hohe Tauern Wilderness.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 8,456 ha Hohe Tauern Wilderness was audited in 2015 and meets the Gold Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2025.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Hohe Tauern National Park, Salzburg
  • Wilderness: Hohe Tauern Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Gold
  • Country: Austria
  • Size of the protected area: 80,500 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 8,465 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2015
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The large contiguous areas of glaciated and post-glaciated landscape with number of unique species like ibex, chamois, and golden eagle
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 1,350,210
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 15,000

Biodiversity

In Hohe Tauern Wilderness you find high Alps mountain landscapes, natural complexes and areas of unique mixed and conifer forests, including a desolate wasteland of rock and scree. Nowadays, animals and plants are colonizing this new habitat only very gradually, especially species from the cold steppes of Central Asia, from the Arctic region and the Siberian tundra. The plant cover in alpine meadows is lush, but extremely patchy and limited to ice-free rocky outcrops in the upper nival zone. It consists of a handful of vascular plant species, mosses, lichens and algae. A specialised group of algae even thrives on the snow surface. In the sub-nival zone, the sparse vegetation is again dominated by mosses and lichens, with some interspersed vascular plants that grow in cushions and tiny carpets. In the lowest part of the alpine zone, shrubs like alpine rose, bilberry and cowberry invade the grasslands. Hohe Tauern Wilderness is home to mountainous animal species like chamois, ibex, bearded and griffon vultures, and golden eagle.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Hiking from the valley up into the glacier-crowned summit region is a unique opportunity to experience in Hohe Tauern Wilderness. The experience is comparable with a trip to the Arctic – with all climate zones from Central Europe to the Polar region. It provides an unforgettable experience especially in summer with its high mountain Wilderness and peaks over 3,000 m, glaciers, glacial streams, waterfalls, mountain lakes, alpine grasslands and its centuries-old maintained pastures.

A very special experience is to discover the Wilderness, accompanied by a Wilderness ranger. In summer (from July to September) a wide range of guided tours and trekking tours, lasting from half-day up to several days, are offered on a regular basis.

 

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Belá WILDRiver

Belá WILDRiver

Belá WILDRiver Slovakia

November 162017

Belá WILDRiver

The 14 km Belá WILDRiver is part of the 22 km long Belá river and partially embedded in the Tatra National Park, Slovakia.  Belá WILDRiver creates a part of the boundaries of this protected area. The upper part of Belá WILDRiver, inside the territory of Tatra National Park, is formed by two creeks, the Tichý and Kôprovský Creek. These two creeks meet together approx. 2 km above the small village of Podbanské and create the wildest Slovakian river, Belá WILDRiver.

The Belá WILDRiver is a typical mountain river in the north of Slovakia with a narrow muddy riverbed and steep gradient in its upper part. Its banks are shallow with a wide gravel channel which often changes in time of floods. Belá WILDRiver is well-known river because of biodiversity, landscape, sports activities and excellent fly fishing opportunities! However, more and more people appreciate the river for its environmental, scenic and wild character.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 14 km of Belá WILDRiver was subject of monitoring in 2015, 2016 and a Quick-Audit in 2017 and meets the Silver Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2018.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Tatra National Park
  • Wilderness: Belá WILDRiver
  • Wilderness: Belá WILDRiver
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Silver
  • Country: Slovakia
  • Size of the protected area: 73,800 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 14 km of Belá WILDRiver
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Belá WILDRiver is the last free-flowing river in Slovakia. The river provides a wide spectrum of unique and dynamic ecosystems. Permanent dwellers of the river watershed are bear, wolf, lynx and imperial eagle
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 2,5 million
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 2,000

Biodiversity

Belá WILDRiver flows through a conifer and mixed forest, in some places disturbed by bridges and opening used for agricultural activities in the Tatra National Park buffer zone. The Belá WILDRiver is home to number of rare and vulnerable flora and fauna species. The water streams fill with water from the mountains, rain and storms, the lakes and melting snow, and become very dynamic. In spring or after strong rain showers, Belá WILDRiver swells and smashes everything that is in its way. It grabs the trees and abrades the rocks, cuts the riverbanks, redeposits gravel and sand, and creates a new channels and watercourses. It clearly shows the power of the wild uncontrolled Belá WILDRiver. The water seemingly destroys, but at the same time creates and supports many forms of life. Insects quickly settle in the new riverbed. Predatory trout use driftwood trees for hiding, and the otters hunt fish that are hidden under the stones. Larger mammals like deer look for vegetation along the river and come to drink. Other big animals like bears, wolves and even lynx are also coming to the riverbeds in search for fresh food and water.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Belá WILDRiver is a favourable destination for rafters. In spring time, when snow is melting in Tatra National Park, rafting down the Belá river is only recommended to fit and experienced rafters. Rafting on this river is usually suggested usually from late April to the end of May.

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Hainich WILDForest

Hainich WILDForest

Hainich WILDForest

November 82017

Hainich WILDForest

The 4,875 ha Hainich WILDForest is embedded into the Hainich National Park, Germany. The Hainich National Park was founded in 1997, as the 13th national park in Germany and the only one in Thuringia. Over 90% of Hainich National Park is not in economic use, where nature is returning to its roots. In contrast to economic forests, the woodland in Hainich WILDForest may develop back, untouched, into a primeval woodland in the heart of Germany, true to the motto of the German national parks “Let nature be nature”. One of the main objectives of the park is the protection of native beech forest. Recently, the park was added to the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 4,875 ha Hainich WILDForest was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2017 and meets the Silver Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2018.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Hainich National Park
  • Wilderness: Hainich WILDForest
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Silver
  • Country: Germany
  • Size of the protected area: 7,500 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 4,875 ha, with potential of enlargement for additional 1,500 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit:  2017
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large contiguous area of broadleaf and mixed forest
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 300,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 20,000

Biodiversity

In Hainich WILDForest people can find the largest contiguous deciduous forest in Germany, uninfluenced by mankind. It is not the typical German oak, but the beech tree that dominates here. An important source of biodiversity is the forest’s deadwood. Deadwood does not mean that there is no life in it, on the contrary. About one quarter of all forest inhabitants depend on deadwood for nesting places or food sources. Also bats often make their home under the peeling bark.  The area is home to the wolf, lynx, wildcats and badgers, together with the roe and red deer as well as the black woodpecker, chaffinch and pied flycatcher.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Hainich WILDForest is offering wide spectrum of activities, including a Wilderness experience. A very special adventure is the Canopy Walk. The Canopy Walk winds along a length of 530 m from the lower crown section up to the tops of the primeval woodland canopies. Besides the National Park Centre, the park offers programs like Wildcat Woodland for Kids, Primeval Woodland Wild Camp or walking and cycling tours.

 

 

Wilderness information
Protected area Hainich National Park
Wilderness Hainich WILDForest
Wilderness Quality Standard Silver
Country Germany
Size of the protected area 7,500 ha
Size of the Wilderness 4,875 ha, with potential of enlargement for additional 1,500 ha
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit 2017
Wilderness Uniqueness Large contiguous area of broadleaf and mixed forest
Number of visitors per year to the protected area approx. 300,000
Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness approx. 20,000

 

Biodiversity

 

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Fulufjället Wilderness

Fulufjället Wilderness

Fulufjället Wilderness

November 82017

Fulufjället Wilderness

The 10,440 ha Fulufjället Wilderness is embedded in Fulufjället National Park, Sweden. Located at the border with Norway, Fulufjället Wilderness is a virtually untouched Scandinavian nature area in the county of Dalarna. Fulufjället Wilderness is named after the mountain Fulufjället that is 1,044 m high. It covers the Swedish part of the Fulufjället massif, which is the southernmost part of the Scandes in Sweden. The Norwegian part of the massif is protected by Norway’s Fulufjället National Park.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 10,440 ha Fulufjället Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Fulufjället National Park
  • Wilderness: Fulufjället Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Sweden
  • Size of the protected area: 22,140 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 10,440 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2012
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Dense boreal old-growth forest, bare mountains with large fields of lichens, Sweden’s highest waterfall – Njupeskar (93m). Old Tjikko, one of the world’s oldest trees, bare mountains, alpine areas with heaths of brush, grass and lichens. Suitable habitat for brown bear, wolverine, Eurasian lynx and Siberian jay
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 58,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 26,000

Biodiversity

The Fulufjället Wilderness is a high plateau, deeply gouged by several rivers that flow into the mighty river Dalälven that also creates the unique topography of the Fulufjället National Park. The geography is dominated by bare mountains and valleys with dense old-growth forest. There is no reindeer grazing in Fulufjället Wilderness, so the mountain heath is covered with a thick carpet of heaths of brush, grass and lichens. In this arctic tundra is also Old Tjikko, one of the oldest trees in the world. Although the tree is small, scientists proved that the tree is over 9,500 years old. This tree can reproduce by shooting roots into the ground. During warmer periods the spruce grew upright like a tree, while during colder times it has grown more like a bush, letting the snow cover and protect it during the winters. The park is a great location for several species of birds, including the Bluethroat, the rare Gyrfalcon and bold Siberian jay, the symbol of the park.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

The Fulufjället Wilderness is close to the majority of the country’s population. The number of visitors dramatically increased, about 40% compared to 2001, before the creation of Fulufjället National Park.

Notable sights include Sweden’s largest waterfall, Njupeskar, with a total height of 93 m, and a free fall of 70 m. For thousands of years the water of the Njupeskär waterfall has carved out a deep canyon, which many visitors come to see. The top of the falls with a fantastic view of the canyon and the landscape is the main motivation of these visits. Another visitor attraction is to observe the impact of a great flood in Fulufjället Wilderness from a big storm back in 1997.

 

 

 

 

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Čepkeliai Wilderness

Čepkeliai Wilderness

Čepkeliai Wilderness

November 82017

Čepkeliai Wilderness

The 13,004 ha Čepkeliai Wilderness is embedded in the Dzūkija National Park and Čepkeliai Strict Nature Reserve, Lithuania. Čepkeliai Wilderness is the largest contiguous piece of Wilderness in Lithuania consisting of two areas: Čepkeliai and Musteika Strict Nature Reserves. It is located in the south-eastern corner of Lithuania and forms one ecological complex, representing the most valuable ecosystems of wetlands and surrounding forests, at the border with Belarus. Čepkeliai Wilderness is protected since 1961 and Čepkeliai Strict Nature Reserve, established in 1975, was nominated as Ramsar area together with Kotra Landscape Reserve in Belarus in 1993. Čepkeliai Wilderness is a unique area that has been only slightly impacted in the past centuries by activities of local people like cutting of grass and collection of berries.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 13,004 ha Čepkeliai Wilderness was audited in 2011 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2021.

Wilderness information

  • Protected areas: Dzūkija National Park and Čepkeliai Strict Nature Reserve
  • Wilderness: Čepkeliai Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Lithuania
  • Size of the protected areas: 69,745 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 13,004 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2011
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large active raised peat-bogs, lowland sedge fens and black alder swamps, surrounded by lichen pine forests on continental dunes
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected areas: approx. 35,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 4,000

Biodiversity

The Čepkeliai Wilderness holds pine forest at the tops of inland dunes and in rolling sandy plains, intersected by river valleys and vast areas of wetland. Beneath this seemingly monotonous veil of pine forests, dry grasslands and orchid filled meadows, raised bogs, fens and transitional mires, sand dunes, fast-flowing rivers and streams have become the habitat for a multitude of rare plants and animals. Some of them are unique for Lithuania or even for Western Europe. It provides nesting grounds for the capercaillie, the symbol of Čepkeliai Wilderness. Čepkeliai Wilderness is home to wolves, lynxes, black grouse, cranes, European beaver and more than 4,000 other species of animals and plants. In nearly every village situated in the woods, you’ll hear the sharp cry of the Green Woodpecker or the sound of the Hoopoe. Furthermore, dry riverside pastures and sand openings are a paradise for bees and bumblebees, and many rare species of butterflies enjoy the warm, open slopes around rivers.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Čepkeliai Wilderness is offering well-designed visitor infrastructure for the general public that allows to visit and experience edges of this vast Wilderness. Boardwalks and watchtowers guide people along the western border of vast peatbogs without the risk of getting lost or to damage the Wilderness. Visitor programmes such as birdwatching are regularly combined with nature talks and interpretive programme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness

Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness

Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness

November 82017

Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness

The 50,325 ha Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness is embedded in the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Georgia. The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is the first national park and largest protected territory in Georgia, situated in the Lesser Caucasus, southwest to the nation’s capital of Tbilisi. It spans an area of 85,000 ha with total length of 95 km from west to east and a width between 3 and 18 km.

Wilderness is an important element of the long-term vision of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. When the park was established, the Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness was already adopted as a fundamental element. The park is known as an outstanding Wilderness, which is successfully monitored by a committed management team. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is included on the list of 35 world priority ecoregions of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and on the list of 34 world hot spots of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 50,325 ha Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2003, 2004, 2006 and in 2012 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.

Park information

  • Protected area: Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
  • Wilderness: Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Georgia
  • Size of the protected area: 85,000 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 50,325 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2012
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Old growth Low Caucasus conifer and evergreen forest, high level of rare and endemic species, rare species such as bear, wolf, imperial eagle
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 4,000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 2,000

Biodiversity

The Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness is home to relict, endemic, rare and vulnerable flora and fauna species. The mountainous forest in Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness has been preserved in its pristine and virgin state. In the virgin forests live populations of brown bear, wolf, lynx, red deer and chamois. Especially birds are easy to encounter and to observe during a hike here, like the unique Caucasian Black Grouse. As the Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness lies on the migration route of many migrating birds, in spring and autumn you can see large flocks of beautiful Yellowish Bee-Eater.

Wilderness Experience

The vast and remote Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness is accessible via 12 marked trails. These trails provide the opportunity to experience various corners of the park and Wilderness, rich biodiversity, and remote corners of these wild mountains. The trails offer a wide variety of one or several days tours, experience of rich evergreen forest (spruce, pine, fir-tree and mixed coniferous forests), spectacular alpine meadows and high mountain peaks. If you decide to hike to Mount Samethskhvario (2.642 meters), the highest point of the national park, you will enjoy a picturesque variety of plants blossoming in July and August. Additionally, the park offers hiking, horse riding, biking, snow shoeing, cultural and educational tours.

 

 

 

 

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Central Balkan Wilderness

Central Balkan Wilderness

Central Balkan Wilderness

October 252017

The highest waterfall of the Balkan Peninsula, the deepest cave of Bulgaria or the largest protected beech forest in Europe are just some of the attractions you’ll encounter in the Central Balkan National Park. However its biggest appeal lies in the area’s overwhelming biodiversity: 2.340 species of plants, 60 species of mammals and 123 nesting species of birds.

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