Bialowieski Park Narodowy
J.  J. Karpinski Bialowieza National Park
Park Palacowy 5
17-230 Bialowieza

Tel./Fax: (48) (85) 6812-756



NMR Visit:
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.  J. Karpinski Bialowieza National Park Information:
The Bialowieza Primeval Forest is world famous for it is the last of the ancient forests which once covered much of continental Europe. 

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

  • Total surface of Bialowieza Primeval Forest (with Lada and Swislocz): 1470 km2

  •  (in Poland 595 km2)
  • Bialowieza National Park 103 km2
  • Nature reserves located in the exploited part of Bialowieza Forest 34.5 km2
  • Altitude 134-202m (mean 170m)
  • Yearly rainfall 641 mm
  • Mean temperature: 

  •     Annual: 6.8o  C
        January: -4.7o  C
        July:  17. 8o  C
  • Absolute exterme temperatures (1949-1980) +34.5o  C; -38.7o  C 
  • Snow cover durability: 

  •     Maximum 132 days
        Mean 92 days
  • Number of days with slight frost: 140 days
  • Synphenological vegetation period in Tilio-Carpinetum 185 days

  • Flora and fauna - number of species (examples):

  • Plantae vasculares 990
  • Anthophyta 953
  • Pteridophyta 37 
  • Bryophyta 254
  • Lichenes 334 
  • Fungi >2000 
  • Macrofungi >430
  • Trees 26 
  • Shrubs 55 
  • Dwarf shrubs 14 
  • Mammalia 62
  • Aves 228
  • Reptilia 7
  • Amphibia 12
  • Pisces 24
  • Cyclostomata 1
  • Insecta >8500
  • Hymenoptera 3000
  • Coleoptera 2000
  • Lepidoptera 1000
  • Diptera 800

  • Vegetation - number of associations:

  • Natural communities 25
  • Forest and brushwood communities 16
  • Non-forest communities 9
  • Seminatural communities 51

  • Synanthropic communities 30

    US Peace Corps Volunteers/Program Facilitators
    and students from the Environment Camp
    (with Pan and EBB)

    A walk to the village of Masiewo - no ice cream

    A hotdog (kilbasa) roast that lasted all night

    Bialowieza 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 (

    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:

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