A Guide to Zamość

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The Roztocze district

The Roztoczański National Park – The Paradise of Lady Nature

Prof. Wacław Skrutowicz, an outstanding Polish zoologist and naturalist from The Adam Mickiewicz...

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Prof. Wacław Skrutowicz, an outstanding Polish zoologist and naturalist from The Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań used to say that the most beautiful gift man could give to the nature of the Roztocze district was establishing a national park here to protect the delicacies, pearls and wonders of nature. The Roztoczański National Park covers the area of over 8 thousand ha. The most significant plants protected in the park include unique Carpathian Beech and fir forests;  in total there are 3.5 thousand animal species, many of which are rare ones, and almost 1.2 thousand species of plants and mushrooms here. Apart from animals and plants there are also hundreds of kilometres of hiking routes, educational and historical paths, cycling trails, rich history and culture, not to mentions the climate. Thousands of scientists conduct their research here and millions of tourists take walks along innumerable forest paths and roads amid nature whose some secrets have not been discovered yet. Lynxes peep out from behind wide-stretching beech trees and prowl about among fir trees whereas fire-bellied toads or Eurasian Pygmy owls bolt from under the bushes while lady’s slipper orchids blossom on meadows.

About half a century ago two professors Dominik Fijałkowski and Krystyn Izdebski from the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin called for protection of nature of the Roztocze district. They were of the opinion that the Zwierzyniecki National Park should be set up and expressed that opinion in “Sylwana", a prestigious magazine of Polish Forest Association in 1958. In fact, a park was set up 15 years later and it took many further efforts of foresters, nature lovers and state authorities to have it done. It was named “Roztoczański” and not “Zwierzyniecki” as the scientists wanted, after the name of the whole geographical region (all national parks in Poland have been named after geographical regions). The Roztoczański National Park was established pursuant to an Act of 10 May 1974 as the thirteenth national park in Poland (now there are 23). It was to protect 4.8 thousand ha of the most valuable tree stands. In the past, the area of the park was part of Zamość Entail. If it had not been for the Zamoyski family there would not be any park. Chancellor Jan Zamoyski was the first to set up a nature reserve surrounded by a high fence and called “zwierzyniec,” for such animals as bisons, elks, deer, wild boars, wolves, lynxes and wild cats. Apart from big game also forest horses called tarpans felt at home here. Nowhere else in Poland did these animals live in the wild for so long. At present they are a symbol of the park. Brought here from a stud farm, today they live in the wild and visitors can watch them grazing in park forests and on “Echo” lake, where they often take a bath among sweet flag.

The project was co-financed by the EUROPEAN UNION - EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND under REGIONAL OPERATING PROGRAMME OF THE PROVINCE OF LUBELSKIE FOR 2007-2013© Zamość Town Office