Tatra National Park was established on October 30, 1954. Covering 21 197 hectares it is the one of the largest national park in Poland. It is situated on the southern end of the Malopolska province. The boundaries of the Park go through the entire area of the Polish part of the Tatra Mountains and nearly 3 700 hectares of forest areas adjacent to them from the north. From the south, TPN is adjacent to the Slovak Tatra National Park (TANAP-I), and from the north of the city of Zakopane and municipalities Kościelisko, Poronin and Bukowina Tatrzańska. About 70% of the park is covered by forests and mountain pine scrub, and the remaining 30% are alpine grasslands, rocks and water. Almost 11 500 ha is under strict protection including mountain pastures, rocky peaks, mountain pine and part of the upper and lower montane forests. The predominant type of ecosystems are forest ecosystems (61%) and non-forest (38%), 1% is the remaining land. The vegetation of Polish Tatras comprises of approx. 1000 species of vascular plants, representing 43% of all species marked in our country. More than 450 taxa are mountain plants, among them 200 not found anywhere else in Poland. natural The natural uniqueness of Tatras is especially emphasized by presence of the endemic and subendemic species of plants and animals. The most famous endemic species is the Tatra chamois (symbol of TPN), marmot and alpine plant Tatra scurvy-grass. In addition to these endemic species, the most characteristic are also; brown bear, lynx, golden eagle, edelweiss, lily gold heads, the Tatra larkspur and pine. TNP is made available for the different forms of activities (eg hiking, skiing, biking, mountain climbing, downhill skiing). For the visitors Park offers 275 km of marked hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty from very easy to very difficult. Some of the trails are equipped with artificial aids such as chains, buckles and ladders. A dense network enables tourists to reach the most interesting scenic areas of the Tatras. Labeled trails also lead to 6 caves made available to tourists. Also 8 tourist resorts are open all year round. They offer both accommodation and catering. In addtion to that there is an aerial tramway from Kuźnice to Kasprowy and two ski lifts on the slopes of Kasprowy. Places most visited by tourists are: Morskie Oko, Kościeliska Valley, Strążyska Valley, Kasprowy and Giewont. There is a Nature Education Centre in KNP, it is located on 42a, Chałubińskiego str. in Zakopane. The center specializes in working with youth and children. Tourists can visit the Nature Reserve Exhibition there – it is entitled "A Year in the Tatras". The exhibition shows how the animals cope in the harsh, high-altitude conditions and how to recognize the chamois, marmot, bear and many other Tatra animals.
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