Vodlozersky National Park in the southeast of Karelia was created in 1991 to preserve the natural, historical and cultural heritage of this region.
Vodlozersky National Park is one of the biggest national parks in Europe. Currently, the total area of the Park is 468,340 hectares.
The park is divided into three parts: Vodlozersky, Ileksky and Pudozhskiy.
About 10 per cent of the park area is occupied by lakes and rivers. The main lake of the park is Lake Vodlozero with the total area of 358 square kilometers and with the total length of the coastline of 438 kilometers. The Ileksa River is the main waterway of the park. It flows into Lake Vodlozero. There are many hills in the northern part of the park. The highest peaks reach 300 meters. The central part is mostly a plain.
In 2001, in accordance with the decree of UNESCO, the park received the status of a biosphere reserve.
The park is considered to be one of the oldest cultural centers in Russia. There you can get acquainted with the traditions of the local people and with interesting architectural monuments, the most significant of which is the Ilyinsky Pogost (churchyard). It is located on the island of Small Kolgostrov on Lake Vodlozero. The main part of the Ilyinsky Pogost is a wooden church consecrated in honor of Elijah the Prophet, built in 1798.
Taiga plant species prevail in the park such as Siberian larch, Tatarian dogwood, Scotch pine, Norway spruce, white birch, aspen, juniper, mountain ash, goat willow. The shrub and grass vegetation is represented by blueberry, red bilberry, heather, two-leaved bead-ruby, starflower, shamrock.
Among the mammals the most notable carnivores are bears, foxes, lynxes, martens. The park contains one of the biggest deer populations.
One can observe rare bird species which are included into the Red Data Book, such as white-tailed eagle, fish-hawk, erne, whooper swan, windhover, gray crane, thrush nightingale. Forests are rich in capercaillies, black grouses and partridges.
Tourism in Vodlozersky National Park
On the territory of the park, excursions and various types of outdoor activities are arranged. We have marked the most interesting ones from our point of view.
1. Boat trips around Lake Vodlozero with a visit to the Ilyinsky Pogost, as well as acquaintance with the chapels and villages, sites of the Neolithic and Paleolithic eras.
2. Water trips - rafting on the rivers Ileksa and Vodla, kayaking on Vodlozero lake.
3. 40 km hike along the ecological trail along the Ileksa River, from the village of Varishpeld to the village of Louza.
5. Bird watching.
Opening hours (subject to change; please request in advance).
Administration of the National Park is located in Petrozavodsk.
Opening hours: from 09.00 till 17.00. Closed: Saturday and Sunday.
Vodlozersky branch office in the village of Kuganavolok.
Opening hours: from 09.00 till 17.00, on Friday from 09.00 till 13.00. Closed: Saturday and Sunday.
Vodlozersky National Park is located in the southeast of Karelia.
You can get to the Visit Center of the National Park in the village of Kuganavolok by road, following the road between the cities of Pudozh and Medvezhyegorsk at the turn to the village of Kuganavolok. The crossroads is located 17 km from the center of Pudozh. There is a dirt road, which is 63 km long to the village. Depending on the condition of this road, it takes one- two hours to get there.
Kuganavolok stands on the shores of Lake Vodlozero. The park arranges transportation on the lake by its boats or snowmobiles in winter.
You can fly to the Vodlozersky National Park by helicopter from Petrozavodsk, but this is an expensive way.
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