Pieniny National Park
Pieniny National Park was established in 1954. It has 2231 ha, of which 1564 are covered by forests, which is 70% of the total area. The Park is located in the central part of the Pieniny Central Range which consists of the Czorsztynskie Pieniny (Nowa Gora, 903 meters), the Trzy Korony Massif (982 meters) and the Pieninki with Sokolica (747 meters). This range is built of Jurassic and creataceous limestone rocks and earlier sandstones, slates and pudding stones.
The Park has various and numerous forms of landscape. The example are picturesque gorges of the Dunajec: Czorsztyn and most of all Pieniny where the river with water of a big downfall (110 meters in the area of the Pieniny) and strong current (the average flow 23 cube meters per second) meanders with sharp turns and big loops along the 300 meters high limestone rocks of the gorge.
The Pieniny lie in the tower prealps, in the layer of beech forests. The nature of the park distinguishes itself by an unusual richness of the flora and fauna. There are around 1100 species of vascular plants here, including alpine and relict species, e.g. the savin juniper Juniperus sabina, the Pieniny endemic plants, e.g. the Pieniny dandilion Taraxacum pieninicum. The group of plants which are legally protected comprises 52 species.
The fauna comprises 45 species of mammals, 170 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 6 species of reptiles and 16 species of fish. The world of insects is unusually rich with around 1600 species of butterflies, e.g. the decreasing local population of the Apollo butterfly which is being restored in the Park. There are historical and cultural monuments in the Park, e.g. the ruins of the castle in Czorsztyn, the castle in Nidzica and fragments of the Blessed Kinga’s castle on Gora Zamkowa.
The unique nature of the Park is greatly endangered by a controversial building of the dam in Czorsztyn on the Dunajec.