The Wielkopolska National Park – as you may guess by its name – is the only national park located entirely in Wielkopolska, almost neighboring the city of Poznań and therefore easily accessible from there by bike. It was established to preserve the areas carved by the glacier thousands of years ago. The park is unique as it is almost a perfect model of Wielkopolska’s natural landscape – with small hills, numerous lakes and forests.
The park is divided into 18 reserves and strict protection areas in an effort to secure the safety and future of marsh vegetation, torfmoos, the original tree cover, forests, heliophilous oak forests, hornbeam forests, breeding sites of aquatic and mud birds and all other kinds of forms remaining from the glacial activities – ribbon lakes, terminal and bottom moraines, eskers or dunes, among them rarities such as Lake Kociołek, a post-glacial plunge pool. Such wonders usually only occur at the foot of waterfalls or steep watercourses.
There are thousands of species of insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals in the park. Among the rarest there are the wasp spider (Poland’s largest orb-weaver spider), the zebra mussel, as well as some species of fish under strict protection – the European weather loach, the spined loach, the stone loach and the Amur bitterling as well as an interesting representative of the reptiles – the viviparous lizard. All the species of amphibians occuring in Poland’s lowlands appear in the park.
It is worth remembering that, as this area is a national park, there are more restrictions here. No water sports are allowed on the lakes with the exception of Lake Łódzko-Dymaczewskie. Amateur fishing is also largely restricted and only allowed in four reservoirs in the park’s lagging. Cars can only be parked in designated parking areas. The park is a heaven for hikers and cyclists though, with its 26 cycling and walking paths and routes and additional 10 hiking paths and 30 kilometers of horse riding paths. The trails are also nordic walking and cross-country skiing friendly.
Other attractions in the park are: the National Museum of Agriculture and Food Industry in Szreniawa (with a nearby observation tower), the lookout tower in Mosina, as well as the castle ruins on an island on Lake Góreckie.
The tourist services for the Wielkopolski National Park are provided by the park’s management, which has its seat in a palace in Jeziory, where an interesting Natural Museum is also located.
Text: Jacek Y. Łuczak
Translation: Kaja Kurczewska