Bieszczady National Park is located in south eastern Poland within the Subcarpathian Voivodeship and it is the third largest national park in the country at just over 292 square kilometres. The park became part of the UNESCO East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve in 1992, an area which includes land in both Slovakia and Ukraine.
By far, the largest element of Bieszczady National Park is natural forest (mostly beech) and animal life is abundant there; including many endangered species such as brown bears and grey wolves. You may also see European bison, moose, deer, wildcat, beavers, European otter and lynx.
The park attracts bird watchers from all over Europe and is home to many rare and endangered species of birds of prey including Golden Eagles, Lesser Spotted Eagles, Honey Buzzards and owls.
Don’t be surprised if you see snakes in the park because the largest population of Aesculapian snakes in Poland have made Bieszczady National Park their home. The Aesculapian is nonvenomous but can grow up to 2 metres in length. You may also see adders and grass snakes.
In addition to the wildlife already mentioned, there is also a large population of amphibians living in the park such as frogs, toads, fire salamander and newt.
One of the main reasons why there is such an abundance of wildlife in the park is the way that visitors are managed with an emphasis on all activities not adversely affecting the natural inhabitants that live there. Around 70% of the park is regarded as strict preserve, which means that the use of trails is restricted.
The park is visited by around 400,000 people each year. Despite restrictions, there are still 129 km of hiking trails & 124 km of nature paths to explore. There are also areas put aside for horse riding, cross-country skiing and cycling.
Woodless, grass-covered ridges, called połoniny, are a distinctive feature of the mountains in Bieszczady National Park.
Bieszczady National Park also conducts environmental education in the form of talks, lectures, training courses, seminars and workshops.