Lithuania’s first national park marks its 40th anniversary2014-11-10
Aukštaitija national park is situated on a hilly and woody area of Eastern Lithuania, about 100 km north from Vilnius and at the intersection of three administrative districts (Ignalina, Utena and Švenčionys).
It is Lithuania’s second largest national park by area, covering 40,500 ha, with water accounting for 15.5 per cent and forests for 70 per cent. The management of Aukštaitija national park sits in Palūšė.
The park was set up to preserve and restore the natural and cultural peculiarities of the Aukštaitija ethno-cultural area and to ensure their sustainable use. It is the land of lakes which is home to 126 lakes and lakelets. The biggest lake is Kretuonas with an area of 829 ha. Lake Tauragnas is the deepest one not only in the park but also in Lithuania (its depth is 62.5 m).
The rugged and diverse relief of Aukštaitija national park was shaped by glaciers, which completely receded 14,000 years ago. During the last glaciation, laky till elevations were formed while the Šiliniškės ridge, which marks the edge of the glacier, renders unique character to the park’s landscape and lures tourists.
Thanks to its geomorphological past, Aukštaitija national park stands out for diverse natural conditions. Almost all types of habitats and soils that exist in Lithuania can be found here. The park is therefore home to both prairie and tundra flora. Even very rare and endangered bird and animal species have found refuge here.
The State Service for Protected Areas, reporting to the Ministry of Environment, will host a conference entitled “Lithuania’s first national park – yesterday, today, tomorrow” at Vilnius City Hall on 11 November, 16:00. The park’s founders, researchers, local communities and representatives from social organisations will gather to recall its history and to discuss its future prospects.
Public information division
10 November 2014