The 16 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 16 km of Belá WILDRiver was subject of monitoring in 2015, 2016 and a Quick-Audit in 2017 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2018.
- Protected area: Tatra National Park
- WILDRiver: Belá WILDRiver
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
- Country: Slovakia
- Size of the protected area: 73,800 ha
- Size of the WILDRiver: 16km of Belá WILDRiver
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2017
- WILDRiver 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 WILDRiver: approx. 2,000
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.