National parks in Lithuania
Lithuania is a land of outstanding scenic beauty with thousand of lakes, meandering rivers, ancient woodlands and old villages. Five national parks have been designated in Lithuania to protect this wealth.
Lithuania’s first national park – Aukstaitija National Park – was designated in 1974 and covers an area of 40 thousands hectares in the regions of Ignalina, Utena and Svencionys. Besides over 70 percent of its territory is pine stands, there are a great variety of smaller and larger lakes, that are scattered among the woods and hills and often interconnected by rivulets and streams. The largest of them is Lake Dringis (721 ha). Lake Tauragnas, the deepest in Lithuania (60.5 m deep) is also here. It is said that of some thirty rivers on the territory of the park, Zeimena is the most beautiful. Consequently, I could approve it, because last summer I had canoed Zeimena myself.
Zemaitija National Park was founded in 1991. It is in the northwestern part of Lithuania, about 45 km to east from the Baltic sea. The most beautiful and the largest lake in this national park is Plateliai. About 50 percent of the park’s territory is woodland. Furthermore, the woods are the habitat of a number of rare and protected bird species.
Dzukija National Park was designated in 1991 in the region of Varena. Its aim is to protect the landscape, the old villages, historical and cultural monuments, and forests of southeastern Lithuania. Pinewoods, which dominate in the Dzukija National Park, abound in mushrooms and have since long ago been a source of extra income for the local people. Dzukija’s forests are the habitat of considerable populations of plenty animals. A number of protected plant species are found in the park, too.
Trakai Historical – National Park was designated to embrace the historic city of Trakai and the forests, lakes and villages in its environs. The environs of Trakai, with old villages and ancient castle hills, attract not only those interested in history but also numerous lovers of nature. In the Varnikai – Ilgelis and Plomenai nature reserves one can find a number of rare species of birds and plants. Over 300 thousand people visit the Trakai National Park every year.
Kursiu Nerija National Park was designated to protect the unique scenic beauty of the Kursiu Nerija, a narrow peninsula separating the Kursiu Marios Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The greatest value of this national park is unique landscape that is formed by sea, wind and people. It is also the highest dune in North Europe.
All these national parks have similar goals: to preserve our nature, to make better conditions for endangered species of flora and fauna and to develop recreational activities through cognitive tourism.
In the conclusion I would like to emphasize that we surely have great and valuable national parks. We should try to preserve and help them to remain. If somebody thinks different, then I suggest them to visit all of these beautiful places, just like I did, and then to think again.