Stolowe Mountains National Park
The Stolowe Mountains in the central part of the Sudetic syncline are the only Polish sandstone tablelands of plate structure. Breaking up into blocks of sandstone and going through a selective process of decay they create here, on a small area (17×4 km), a unique landscape consisting of labyrinths and countless numbers of isolated rocks of incredibly fantastic shapes.
Their biggest concentration can be observed on the bulwarks of the highest part of the Mountains, mainly on Szczeliniec Wielki (191 meters) and in Bledne Skaly (850 meters), which have been a nature preserve since 1957. Very original are Skalne Grzyby – a big concentration of island mountains ranging along the lower part of the massif.
Stolowe Mountains National Park with the area of 6280 ha was established in 1993. The vegetation of the Park belongs to the layer of lower prealps; there are mainly forest communities here, particularly spruce forests of artificial origin. Apart from them there have been preserved natural communities of beech forests and small areas of spruce-trees and relict enclaves of pine forests. There are also specific meadows called “Lezycka Savanna” – an area of the Miocene flattening with scattered single sandstone rocks (Lezyckie Skalki) and umbrela-shaped pines. The whole of it resembles a savanna landscape and is sometimes called an “African Savanna”.
A natural peculiarity of the Park is also Batorowskie Great Peatbog (Wielkie Torfowisko Batorowskie) – a floristic preserve, made in 1958 (39,33 ha), in which a very precious high peatbog – a refuge for glacial relicts is strictly protected. The flora of the Park is estimated to be around 510 species of vascular plants; with 33 protected species, some of them very rare, e.g. Pinus uligionsa and in the first place Irish saxifrage (Saxifraga decipiens). In the Park there are also 272 species of mosses and 122 species of the liverworts.
The fauna – relatively not well explored; among the rare forest animals there have been spotted for example: the marten, the badger, the grey squirrel, the black grouse, the species of small owl, the eagle owl, the sparrow-hawk and the water ouzel.