Grasshopper no 1, Winter '93


The Bieszczady National Park (BPN) stretches over a part of the Polish West Bieszczady mountains. It is situated in the Krosno Voivodship (region), in the south-eastern part of the Cisna and Lutowiska communities.
It was created in 1973. It was then situated on 5725 hectares only. It was extended in 1989 to 15,710 hectares and included almost all of the polonina meadows and the fir and beach Puszcza Karpacka Forest. In 1990, the Park was extended to 27,064 hectares. Now it is the largest national park in Poland.

In the Park, there live about 80 deer, 25 roe deer, 25 hogs, 4 wolves, 4 lynxes, 20 foxes, several wildcats and 2-4 bears, most probably entering the park from the neighboring wildlife refuge, where 20 other bears live. BPN allows them to survive. The ban on bearhunting has only been imposed in Poland; the Slovaks hunt bears in the hunting season, and the Ukrainians treat the bear as a noxious animal and hunt it all year round.


About 3/4 of the Park's area is a strict reserve. In the parts where nature protection is not strictly enforced, economic activities are allowed and take place.

The natural structure of the forests is being restored. The most essential work being carried out is the restructuring of artificial spruce growth. The spruce of 70 years and older are being chopped down because they are becoming vulnerable to plagues of wood eating insects and therefore present a real danger to environment. It is also necessary to do the sanitary logging, preventing the fir retreat.

Wood from the Park is sold with no tax. The incomes is used for the Park's needs, for instance the planting of new trees. There are plans to plant new trees especially along the creeks.

On the semi-natural meadows sheep and cattle batten and the hucul horse rearing was started. So far there are 12 horses located here but 60 altogether will live here.

When approved by the National Council of the BPN, the deer hunting will be made possible.


In the Park, many offenses are committed. High unemployment causes more frequent pouching and illegal logging. It is virtually impossible to prevent these crimes as the Park has only a few rangers.


The park took over the natural museum in Ustrzyki Dolne, where the Scientific and Didactic center of BPN was created together with a library and the soil and ecology laboratory. The Center's workers make research in the Park and educate children and youth. Student training sessions and residential courses are organized as well.


Efforts are made to join new areas to the Park. The first of these new areas being Upper San valley with its rich fauna reserves and peat moors and the former Carynskie village, whose dramatic history is a phenomenon on its own. Among the natural tree structure, with a rich range of species, there are old fruits trees from the former orchards, and in the place of the former dwellings and cementaries, grouping of lime and ash trees may be found. Walking by the bear and lynx backwoods, you can come across old tombstones, stone foundations of a by-road chapel, bridge headstones and the former freight railway used for transporting wood.

The other reason for the strict control of the region is the need to protect the nation-border water reserves. BPN has already started contacts with the natural scientists of Lviv University who are currently designing a protection system for the San watershed, from Zurawiny to the Uzocka pass.

There are also plans to extend the park to western areas. Joining those parts would mean encircling the core zone of the Park with a buffer zone on the Slovak side. The western complex would be adjacent to the transitional zone, situated by the Cisniansko-Wetlinski Landscape Park. It would improve the structure of the protective zones of the International Biosphere Reserve.

The idea of the BPN extension is opposed by some members of the local community, fearing that the Park may hamper the regional development and that it may be preserved as a museum village. If tourism really provides jobs and reasonable earnings, those fears will certainly disappear.

The BPN management believes that people will start understanding that without nature protection, we are cutting the branch we are sitting on.


Dyrekcja Bieszczadzkiego Parku Narodowego (The Management Board of the Bieszczadzki National Park): 38-174 Ustrzyki Gorne, tel. Lutowiska 50.
Osrodek Naukowo-Dydaktyczny (Research and Didactic Centre): ul. Belzka 7, 38-700 Ustrzyki Dolne, tel. 245.

transl. Marcin Chyla

Grasshopper no 1, Winter '93 | Contents