One of the 23 Polish National Parks, created in 1959 from part of the reserve established after World War II. On January 1, 2016 KNP has expanded for a 371 more hectares – making its total area 5951 hectares. The park is located in Lower Silesia near the state border with the Czech Republic, it encompasses six municipalities: Szklarska Poreba, Piechowice, Jelenia Gora, Podgorzyn, Karpacz and Kowary. Its range covers the main ridge of the Giant Mountains (Karkonosze) from the western slopes of Mumlawski Peak in the west to Okraj Pass in the east. The park also includes the Szklarki Falls enclave. The biggest part of the park is covered by forests - 4397 ha - mainly under active protection. Areas located above the upper limit of the forest, or subapline and alpine altitudinal zone of approx. 1 500 hectares is under strict protection. There is a buffer zone around the Park, it covers an area of 13 093 ha. Forests cover nearly 70% of the area, the rest are non-forest ecosystems, the vast majority located above the upper limit of forest, also land and water ecosystems. Thre are over a thousand species of plants and many forest species in the Prk (approx. 40 species of mammals, including otter, red deer, roe deer, fox, and 16 species of bats). One of the most interesting animals living here is mediterranean mouflon - introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century from Corsica. Large carnivores, such as wolves and lynx are also beginning to return to the area. Karkonosze National Park is also home to 90 species of birds such as: boreal owl, pygmy owl, the endangered black grouse, western capercaillie, ring ouzel, alpine accentor. The most numerous group of animals are the insects and other invertebrates. Fauna owadów Karkonoszy obejmuje również formy endemiczne: jak podgatunek motyla – miernikowca. insect fauna of Karkonosze also includes endemic forms such as a subspecies of butterfly - geometer moth. there are also endemic plants here: musky saxifrage – a subspecies of furrowed saxifrage, bohemian bellflower, sudetic lousewort, hollowstem burnet saxifrage. Opening the park to the public caused a threat to the conservation of its nature. One of the biggest threats is a massive tourist traffic (about two million tourists visit annually the Karkonoski National Park). The main protective measures are: conservation of biological diversity at the gene, species and ecosystem level, monitoring of biotic and abiotic components of nature, renovation of tourism infrastructure, information and education, protection against vermin and illegal and harmful activities of human activities. Admission to KPN is payable. Park has 112 km of hiking trails, there are also ski trails, including 17 km of piste. Some of hiking trails are available for cyclists. In the upper parts there are two cable railways in winter and are 10 lifts for skiers. KNP boasts the following educational centers: Karkonoskie Environmental Education Center in Szklarska Poreba, The Information Centre of the Karkonosze National Park in Karpacz, Education - Information "Hunting Lodge" Centre in Karpacz, Karkonossze Gene Bank.
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