Aukstaitija National Park of Lithuania

Aukštaitija National Park was established to preserve and restore natural and cultural heritage of Aukštaitija ethnical region, as well as to organise a sustainable use of it’s resources, to spread environmental ideas and raise eco-awareness.

Headquarters are located in Palūšė, Ignalina dst. About 40 employees take care of nature and culture reserves, monuments and other valuable objects. They organise scientific researches, collect data and information about natural and cultural values within the area and provide it to visitors in the Palūšė and Labanoras visitor centres or in publications. Main task for them is to create conditions for visiting the park without making harm to nature as well as environmental education.

Nature
Due to its geomorphological past the Aukštaitija National Park distinguishes for the diversity of natural conditions. Here you can find almost all kinds of natural habitats and soil types which are described in Lithuania. Vegetation varies from steppe to tundra species, many rare bird and animal species finds a sanctuary here. For an example, 59% of all Lithuania’s native plant species were found in the park, while it covers less than 1% of the country. Representatives of almost all Lithuania’s species of vertebrates constantly reside in this area and some beetle species haven’t been found in other places of Lithuania.

Location
Aukštaitija National Park covers 4,050 ha of a hilly wooded area in East Lithuania, 100 km North from Vilnius and 170 km North-Eats from Kaunas. Three administrative districts meet there. 50% of the park’s area belongs to Ignalina District, 25% - to Utena and Švenčionys respectively. National Park Headquarters are in Palūšė, Ignalina district.

Waters
Water floods 15% of park’s area. There are 126 lakes from 0,5 to more than 800 ha in size. The largest Lake Kretuonas has a surface of 829 ha. Lake Dringis is smaller in size (725 ha), but not according the numerous islands, capes and lagoons. It’s shoreline is 31,5 km long. Lake Tauragnas is the deepest lake not only in the park, but in Lithuania as well. The deepest place is 60,5 m under the water. Lake Žeimenis is the longest in the park. 10 km long and only few hundred metres wide it reminds a river. Rivers and channels connect lakes which makes easy to travel by boat from lake to lake. The River Žeimena gathers all the water and it possible to continue a boat trip and reach the Baltic Sea.

Culture
Solitary findings indicate, that in a present territory of the Aukštaitija National Park people lived already in 9-8 century B.C. Human activities for longer than ten thousand years left many traces, and cultural heritage of many generations is one of the most valuable in the park today. Here one can learn about life of ancestors starting from the Stone Age, about their fights with crusaders from Livonia Order during medieval ages and about customs of Aukštaitija ethnic region in 18th -20th centuries. Many historical, archaeological and architecture monuments reminds about the old times and the great past of human kind in this region.

Recreation
Aukštaitija National Park is a wonderful destination for those who want to learn about nature and the culture of Aukštaitija region or just to have a short break from noisy cities.
Everyone will gain unforgettable impressions. However, human activities in the park are strictly defined by law. Park visitors are allowed to:
Pitch tents and make fires only in camp sites, i.e. specially designed places, marked with signs.
Drive vehicles only on the roads, where traffic is regulated by the traffic rules. Parking is allowed only in parking places and on the roadside according to the traffic rules.
Fishing and hunting is regulated by the fishing and hunting rules approved by the Ministry of Environment.
Berry and mushroom picking, nutting and gathering herbs are regulated by the rules of the use of wild flora and nature resources.
Sailing and navigation are regulated by the rules of small ships.
Guests are recommended to visit Aukštaitija National Park Visitor Information Centre in Palūšė. Its staff will help to plan routes, provide information about accommodation possibilities and other services, about places to see and other useful advice.

To see
See http://www.anp.lt/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=16

Activities
Guided tours, outdoor trips, nature-watching, fishing. See http://www.anp.lt/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=17

Accommodation
See http://www.anp.lt/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=14

Contact
Aukstaitija National Park Visitor Information Centre
LT-30202 Paluse, Ignalinos r., Lithuania
Tel. +370 386 47478, e-mail: info@anp.lt