Biebrza National Park, in northeastern Poland, is a beautiful patchwork of forest, river and marshlands.
Protecting Europe’s largest marsh and swamp area, this is a landscape of truly international importance. The Park is based around the wide flat valleys of the Biebrza and Narew rivers in Poland’s North East. It is home to many bird species, including White Tailed Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, White & Black Stork, Marsh, Hen and Montagu’s Harriers, as well as Wolf, Elk, Deer, Wild Boar, Beaver (‘Biebrza’ in Polish) and many more.
The whole area is a glorious togetherness of wild forest, river basins and tiny quaint villages. Outside each home stands the family’s store of wood, cut from the sustainably managed forests that envelop each village. Between the villages is nothing but forest, river and river basin meadow. There’s no ribbon development here, only the odd lovely wooden house belonging to the foresters.
In recent years, Poland’s NPWS decided to increase the area within Biebrza National Park that is to be covered by total protection. The Park covers a total of 60,000 hectares and is Poland’s largest NP. Of this, 7,200 hectares now make up totally protected forest lands, an increase of 60%. Total protection means lands are kept away from man’s intervention. Nature is left to her own devices.
Biebrza NP has also begun the process of application to become a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which would give the Park even greater prestige. Poland already boasts ten such reserves. [Ireland, by the way, has two at North Bull Island and Killarney NP.]
I lead a wildlife spotting tour to Biebrza NP during springtime, using only the services of a superb local guide and locally-owned accommodation and transport. Our guide is so good, he wrote the book on the National Park – literally. Trips are combined with days spent at Bialoweiza NP, another wondrous place.
Biebrza National Park, NE Poland
Visit the website of Biebrza National Park (in Polish).