Welcome to the Świętokrzyski National Park
The Świętokrzyskie Mountains (the Holy Cross Mountains) are the oldest ranges in Poland. Uplifted during three different orogenic periods, they cover the part of the Lesser Poland Upland, between the Pilica and the Vistula rivers. Their outlines are gentle, and their altitudes are not impressive. Yet they fascinate by an extremely original structure, diverse vegetation and animal life.
No wonder, the idea of protecting the area of the Łysogóry range emerged as early as at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1908, Polish Country Lovers’ Society – the Committee for the Conservation of Natural Monuments made a recommendation to create a nature reserve here. Thus, began an almost half-century period of social efforts for creating a national park in this area.
The first strict reserve in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, the reserve on Chełmowa Góra, was established in 1920. It covered the forest complex where the Polish larch occurs naturally. In 1924 two other reserves were created: the reserve on Łysa Góra and on Łysica. In 1923, the areas adjacent to the existing reserves were covered by partial protection. Besides, the partial reserve on Miejska Góra was established. The total area of the reservations amounted to 1347.4 ha, and constituted the core of the future Park.
After the Second World War the efforts to cover this area with protection were continued. Their consummation was the establishment of the Świętokrzyski Park Narodowy in 1950. In 1966, the area of the Park was enlarged by the part of the Klonowski range and the Zapusty complex.
Today, the Park occupies the area of 7,626.45 ha, and its buffer zone covers 20,786.07 ha. The Park encompasses: the Łysogóry range with the highest summits of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains: Łysica (612 metres) and Łysa Góra (595 metres), a part of the Klonowski range with the mountains: Psarska (415 metres), Miejska (426 metres) and Bukowa (484 metres), a part of the Pokrzywiański range with Chełmowa Góra (351 metres), parts of the valleys: Wilkowska and Dębniańska.
The Park is divided administratively into 8 forest districts: Chełmowa Góra, Dąbrowa, Dębno, Jastrzębi Dół, Klonów, Podgórze, Święta Katarzyna, and Święty Krzyż. Their aim is to carry out preplanned tasks concerning the protection of natural, cultural, and landscape values.
The Świętokrzyski National Park is divided into zones of landscape, active, and strict protection. In the strict protection areas human interference is fully prohibited. They are left to unhindered influence of the forces of nature. There are five such areas, originally reserves, in the Park:
- Chełmowa Góra (Mount Chełmowa) was established in 1920 to protect the sites of the natural occurrence of the Polish larch (Larix polonica). Today, its area amounts to 13.2 ha. This small piece of land is covered by oak-hornbeam, mixed and beech forests.
- Święty Krzyż (Holy Cross Mountain) was established in 1924, and covers the area of 476.9 ha. Oak-hornbeam, fir and beech forests are found here. Vast boulder fields, called gołoborza, are a very valuable part of nature.
- Łysica (Łysica Mountain) was established in 1924. Its area is 1186.4 ha. As far as nature is concerned, the area resembles the reserve mentioned above. It is covered by oak-hornbeam, fir and beech forests, and by gołoborza, which are even vaster than in the Święty Krzyż Reserve.
- Czarny Las (Black Forest) was established in 1954, and covers the area of 26.5 ha. It consists of mixed forests, oak-hornbeam forests with fir, small-leaved lime, with the addition of beech and black alder, wet leafy forests, and riparian forests.
- Mokry Bór (Wet Woods) was established in 1954, and its area is 37.9 ha. It includes small areas of marshy small-reed coniferous forest as well as marshy and fresh coniferous forests. Such vegetation complexes do not occur anywhere else in the Park. Bogs and transitional mires can be also found in this area.
The Świętokrzyski National Park in numbers
Park area: 7626,45 ha
Buffer zone area: 20 786,07 ha
Border length: 168 km
95% of the Park is covered by forests
23% of the Park is the area of strict protection in which human activity is prohibited by law.
In the Park’s ecosystems there are among others:
over 859 plant species, including 35 tree species
272 algae species
450 fungi species
about 340 lichens species
and animals such as:
birds: 150 species, including 118 species nestling in the Park
mammals: 45 species
amphibians 14 species
reptiles: 6 species
land snails: 66 species
spiders: 187 species
insects: over 1500 species, including
butterflies: 611 species, scales: 87 species, and flies: 177 species.