Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness
The 7,117 ha Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness 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 Wilderness 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 Wilderness 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 Wilderness was audited in 2017 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness also includes the Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest and 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.
- Protected area: Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
- Wilderness: Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
- Country: Ukraine
- Size of the protected area: 57,880 ha
- Size of the Wilderness: 7,117 ha
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2017
- Wilderness Uniqueness: Large 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. 1,000
The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness is the largest areas with contiguous old-grow beech forests in Europe. It is an area of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity depending on spontaneous natural processes 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 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 Wilderness is permitted only for guided tours and for participants of workshops. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness is located approx. 90 km from Uzhhorod and approx. 60 km from Ivano Frankivsk. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness is accessible for cars and busses. Two nature trails, in Mala Uholka and Velyka Uholka, provide a unique experience in Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness. The trails lead through primeval beech forest, passing the caves in limestone massive, and the karst bridge.