J. J. Karpinski Bialowieza National Park
Park Palacowy 5
Tel./Fax: (48) (85) 6812-756
FOR LIST OF
2-4 May 2000
The New Millennium Ride’s visit coincided with the Green Leader 2000 environmental camp for Polish high school students from all over Poland. Students were chosen to participate in the week-long camp on the merits of papers they wrote about the importance and preservation of green space on the planet. I accompanied the camp participants - instructors and students - on a 22 km hike through the primeval forest and the strict nature reserve to a park campsite near Masiewo. The night was spent around a campfire, roasting Polish sausages, telling stories and singing songs. The Green Leader 2000 project/campaign is the brainchild of US Peace Corps Volunteers. This year’s host, in his final months of service, was PCV Dan Glasson (from Shaker Heights, OH), who worked in the Park’s Nature Education Center. He was accompanied by fellow PCVs Elenka Jarolinek (Denver, CO), Jay Flint (Alameda, CA), Cyndi Veit (NE Harbor, ME), and Jonathan Chappell (Gibsonia, PA), who helped to facilitate the program and lead some of the activities. PCV Dan Glasson was invited to join the park's staff to assist in income generation projects for the locals so they might rely less on the park's resources for their livelihood. His works have also involved information dissemination projects for tourists, students, and part visitors.
J. Karpinski Bialowieza National Park Information:
The park was founded in 1921 following an official survey of the area by three Polish biology professors who wanted to assess the damage to the forest caused by World War I. It is one of 25 national parks in Poland and employs some 72 individuals. The primary purpose of Bialowieza is the preservation of the area's natural ecosystems.
Poland and Belorussia both include parts of the Forest, which totals 150,000 hectares. UNESCO has emphasized its uniqueness by designating Bialowieza Forest as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Its most valuable portion is situated in Poland and protected as the Bialowieza National Park (with a current area of 5,348 hectares). Bialowieza Primeval Forest also contains a strictly guarded sanctuary of nature and is a preserve of aurochs (European bison). The scientific and environmental function of this area is as important as its tourist value.
The auroch is the most famous inhabitant of the Forest. It has lived there for centuries but was nearly exterminated during the First World War. The last remnants of the once great herd were rounded up in the 1920s. In the early 1950s --after many years of breeding-- the auroch was set free and again became the ruler of Bialowieza Forest. There are now about 230 aurochs in the Polish part of the Forest.
Bialowieza Primeval Forest - Basic Data
(in Poland 595 km2)
Annual: 6.8o C
January: -4.7o C
July: 17. 8o C
Maximum 132 days
Mean 92 days
Synanthropic communities 30
US Peace Corps Volunteers/Program Facilitators
and students from the Environment Camp
(with Pan and EBB)
National Park is the oldest among Polish national parks in. BNP was established
in 1921. It covers 103 km2. BNP became World Biosphere Reserve in 1977
and World Heritage Site in 1979. In 1992 the World Heritage Committee of
UNESCO enlarged the World Heritage Site to include an even larger area
of ajoining forest in Belarusia (http://www.unesco.org/whc/sites/627.htm).
The Strict Nature Reserve of the Bialowieza National Park protects fragments of lowland forest with natural forest communities and stands of primeval origin. Stands are mostly multi-layer, multi-species and different-aged. A majority of the stands are more than 200 years old, many trees are 250-400 years old.
Other Web sites for Bialowieza
National Park information: