SLOVINSKI NATIONAL PARK

Sand dunes at the Baltic SeaThe Slovinski National Park is one of two Polish national parks situated on the Baltic coast. It is located between towns of Leba and Rowy, 115 km northwest of Gdansk, covering the area of 186.18 km2 (71.88 sq mi). The purpose of its foundation was to preserve the system of seaside lakes, peat bogs, meadows and forests and, first of all, sand dunes. Moving dunes stretching along the Lebska Spit are unique and regarded as a curiosity of nature on European scale.

Dunes are the result of long-term activity of sea and wind with plants co-participation. Sand being thrown to the shore by waves settles on the beach where it is dried by wind and sun. The wind carry the sand inland causing the dunes slowly move, at a speed of 3 to 10 meters per year. As the dunes move, they cover everything they find on their way; in other spots the wind uncovers dead tree stumps buried in the past under the sand. Some dunes are quite high reaching the height of dozens of meters; the highest exceed 30 meters. On the surface of sand the wind creates fantastic patterns. Dunes in Slovinski National Park differ in look (type), age and genesis.

Approximately half of Park’s area is occupied by waters which are made up of lakes and rivers. The lakes of Lebsko and Gardno (former sea bays) are an important refuge for aquatic birds. The park is inhabited by 260 bird species and visited by a number of others as it is located on the route of migrating birds. Among the most interesting are: eagle owls, cranes, cormorants, sea eagles, ducks, swans and many others.

In recognition of its unusual natural value and diversity, the Slovinski National Park was included in UNESCO list of WorldBiosphere Reserves. It is also under the protection of the RAMSAR International Convention.

Tourists and nature lovers can discover the beauty of this unique Land of Water, Wind and Sand by taking one of walking or cycling trails. By the lakes there are some observation towers and the highest peak of the Park, Rowokol (115 m (377 ft)), is also an excellent observation point. The Museum of Nature of the Slovinski National Park in Smoldzino presents an exposition of the nature of the most characteristic Park ecosystems. Those who are interested in the history of this land and people (Slovincians) who used to live in this swampy area should visit the open-air ethnographic museum in the village of Kluki.

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