Gorczański National Park is a small protected area in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, with a great potential to become a member of the European Wilderness Network. It is located in the southern Poland and it covers the central and north-eastern part of the Gorce range, which are part of the Western Beskids.
Please also read: Wilderness in Julian Prealps Natural Park, Italy
It is a small park currently covering an area of 7 029 ha and particularly the core zone has been managed as a strict reserve already for several decades. This means that spontaneous natural processes and ecosystems dynamic are the major objective of the daily management.
Character of the Gorczański National Park
Over 95% of Gorczański National Park is covered by the Carpathian beech forest, primarily mixed and deciduous, which is home to a large number of rare and protected plants, including many species typical of mountainous areas. Forests provide shelter to a range of animal species, including bear, lynx, wolf, owls, capercaillie and the Carpathian newt.
History signed on the Gorce landscape
A characteristic element of the Gorce landscape comes in the form of its glades, which provide breath-taking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains such as: Tatras, Pieniny, Island Beskids and Beskid Sądecki ranges. These glades came about in the Middle Ages due to extensive forest burning to replace it with pastures for sheep grazing.
The area of the Park extends in the highest part of the Gorce range in the altitude 700–1310 m a.s.l. and consists of the main, large area and 14 small exclaves. 4% of the Park’s area is covered by mid-forest mowing meadows and glades in various succession stages.
Gorce potential Wilderness
Since 2000, more than 3 000 ha is under strict protectection and subject of non-intervention management. This creates a potential to identify Wilderness in this area and launch partnership with the European Wilderness Society.
This strictly protected area includes the upper mountain spruce forests, in which the process of natural dynamics and spontaneous re-wilding has been protected for over 20 years.
To read the full paper The European Wilderness Society wrote on this topic, see this pdf: