The territory of the park covers more than 32 000 hectares. Its terrain mostly consists of foothills and mountain chains. This area has moderate continental climate with cool summers, soft winters and warm falls. Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park is divided into four main functional zones: reserve zone made to preserve ecosystems; regulated recreation zone where guests are allowed to stay for a short period and to visit interesting sights; stationary recreation zone where visitors are welcome to stay in numerous hotels, motels, camping sites etc; and service zone with populated points and utilities.
The highest peak of Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park is Gregit Mountain (1471 meters). Its slopes are covered with stone fields called “gregots” by locals. Some mountain uplifts in this area, for example, Sokilsky chain, have rocks with height 20–40 m. Such rocks are popular as training points for alpinists and climbers. At the foot of Gregit, you can see unique virgin spruce forest – an essentially important part of the local ecosystem.
Forests are the precious source of Hutsulshchyna National Park. The area mostly has leafy woods. Here you can find oaks, beeches, horn-beeches, birches, elms, filberts, hawthorns, buckthorns, elderflowers and so on. Typically, oaks and beeches grow on the lower mountain chains, while the higher peaks are covered with spruce. In the fall months, Hutsulshchyna park woods with their red and yellow leaves are especially good-looking.
The rich flora of Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park includes 67 plants from the Red Book of Ukraine such as ground-pine, foxfeet, Swiss pine, silver dollar plant, belladonna, meadow saffron, martagon lily, wood garlic, snowdrop, spring snowflake, crocus and many other.
Hutsulshchyna National Park is also a homeland for many animals and birds including 85 species from the Red Book. The woods here are inhabited by brown bears, otters, forest cats, lynxes, black storks, wood grouses, black grouses, hazel grouses, booted eagles, lesser spotted eagles, steppe grey shrikes, owls, woodpeckers and other.
The park can boast many beautiful rivers and lakes. Rivers Cheremosh, Pistinka, Luchka and Rybnitsa are the largest waterways in this area. All these rivers are the right-bank tributaries of Prut River. Tourists who come to Hutsulshchyna National Park love to visit Lebedyn lake (650 meters above sea level) and Sheshorsky Guk waterfall. By the way, in the park you can find many lovely waterfalls called “guks” by locals, numerous mineral water sources and brines springs (“ropas”).
Apart from the miracles of nature, Hutsulshchyna National Park is famous for the well-preserved folk crafts, customs and traditions of Hutsuls. Kosiv region, where the park is located, is a cultural and art center of Hutsul people. The items, created by local woodcarvers, furriers, Pysanka makers, metal crafts specialists, ceramists, weavers, embroiderers, are in great demand. Authentic old crafts, colorful clothes, unusual music and songs of Hutsuls attract attention of those who are interested in Ukrainian and European history. The design of the recreational facilities in Hutsulshchyna National Park includes elements of Hutsul architecture that perfectly combine with surrounding landscapes. Besides, on the territory of the park visitors can find ancient buildings and sanctuaries: for example, astronomical observatory on Lysyna Kosmatska Mountain or Ternoshorske stone sanctuary with the sculpture of pregnant woman.
The territory of the park is full of interesting touristic routes – for example, “To Klifa Mountain”, “To Rokyta”, “To Mikhalkova Mountain”, “To Kamenysty Mountain chain”, “To Brusny Mountain chain”, “Dubyna” and other. Many people come here to take part in exciting activities related to eco-tourism, horse-riding tourism, bicycle touring. The park also has two ski trails near Kosiv and Sheshory. Those who prefer water activities can enjoy rapids and waterfalls on Luchka, Pistynka and Cheremosh rivers.
Hutsulshchyna National Park has many recreational camps, hotels and complexes – for example, Karpatsky Zori complex in Kosiv and Sriblyasti Vodospady camp in Sheshory. Those who love to rest by water usually come to Cheremosh river and Lebedyn lake.
In the Center of Ecology and Education of Hutsulshchyna Park, you can find many interesting biblio, video, photo and cartographic materials. The Center regularly holds science-related events: seminars, trainings lectures etc. Besides, it organizes thematic festivals, camps and contests.
If you want to visit Hutsulshchyna Park, you will have to go to Kosiv town. You can reach it by bus from Ivano-Frankivsk.
The park office address: 84, Druzhby street, Kosiv town, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast`
Welcome to Hutsulshchyna National Park in Ukrainian Carpathians – the unique world of natural wonders and Hutsuls` historical heritage.
Photo source: Facebook page of Hutsulshchyna National Park. All photos belong to their rightful owners.