Saturday, August 25, 2007

National park Risnjak (CRO)

National park Risnjak

The Risnjak National Park is located in Gorski kotar, the most wooded part of western Croatia. It lies between latitude 45°24' and 45°32' north and longitude 14°33'30" and 14°43'30" east, in the immediate vicinity of the Adriatic Sea, only 15 km north-east from Rijeka. The Park covers an area of 63,5 km2 including the central part of the Risnjak and Snježnik massif, as well as the upper flow of the river Kupa with its source area. The area of the Risnjak massif was proclaimed a national park in 1953, at the suggestion of an eminent Croatian natural scientist and researcher of Risnjak.

Large migrations of Alpine, arctic and boreal species moved across the Risnjak and Snježnik massif towards southeast, on these mountains a vegetation substantially different from the one in the Alps has been preserved. Due to various climatic, geologic, petrographic and other factors, a very heterogeneous flora and fauna has been preserved in this area. The Park is made mostly of limestone and dolomite with major karst features (karren on bare rocks, rock falls, sinkholes, swallow holes, caves etc.).

The highest peak of the NP "Risnjak" - Veliki Risnjak - is only 1528 m high, but this massif together with the contiguous Snježnik massif (1506 m) is nevertheless a great climatic and vegetational barrier between coastal and continental parts of Croatia. Climatic influences from the Adriatic Sea penetrating from the nearby Kvarner bay and the continental influences penetrating through the Kupa valley collide here and play a significant role in determining the specific climate of the NP "Risnjak" with pleasantly warm summers and an average temperature up to 20°C, rainy springs an autums, and long, cold snowy winters. At the Risnjak mountain lodge, snow lies for full five months, sometimes up to 4 m deep.

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