«Meshera» National Park

«Meshera» National Park

Meshera: ancient and beautiful, picture-perfect and mysterious, amazing and one-of-a-kind. Wild country in impenetrable forests of which it smells wood resin and fir-needles, where shadows of majestically slow deer move noiselessly, and in early spring, wood grouses strike into their eternal song on thaw holes. Here, everything has aroma of primevalness, from carpet-like furry moss to transparent and clear air.

Geographically, Meshera is a lowland in the middle of the East European Plain, the area of which makes 1 000 000 ha and includes territories of Vladimir, Ryazan and, partially, Moscow regions.

Now, the joint directorate of the Federal State-Financed Institution «Meshera National Park» manages two national parks: «Meshera» in the Gus-Khrustalny rayon in the Vladimir region and «Mesherskiy» in Klepiki and Ryazan rayons in the Ryazan region; as well as two federal wildlife reserves: «Muromskiy» in the Murom and Gorokhovets rayons in the Vladimir region and «Klyazminskiy» in the Kovrov rayon in the Vladimir region and Youzhskiy rayon in the Ivanovo region. The total area of all territories under the control of the directorate exceeds 300 000 ha.

The Federal State-Financed Institution «Meshera National Park» was founded for the purpose of preserving the natural heritage and historical and cultural legacy of the Meshera lowland. The main areas of activity of the national park are nature protection, science, environmental education, tourism and recreation.

The «Meshera» national park was created in the Vladimir region in the beginning of hard and watershed 90-s in the 20th century. Created on the 9th of April 1992, for preservation of the most precious wetlands in the Meshera lowland, it became a pioneer in the field of restoration of wetlands destructed by long-term peat extraction.

Meshera in the Vladimir region represents the lowest area of the Meshera lowland where the nature provided conditions for wide spread of swamps of any type. Here, more than 900 species of vascular plants grow, 59 rare and listed species were placed under special protection. 3047 animal species were registered, among them 44 mammal species, 210 bird species, 26 fish species, 10 amphibian species and 5 reptile species. 73 animal species were taken under special protection, 19 of which were listed in Red Book of the Russian Federation.

The date of creation of the «Mesherskiy» National Park is also the 9th of April 1992. The park territory, in line with the Ramsar Convention and, as the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation provides, dated 13th of September 1994, is within the boundaries of wetlands of international importance as they are a habitual area of swimming birds. The river of Pra, Klepiki lakes and adjoining low-lying wetlands represent a «landmark» of the «Mesherskiy» National Park.

The flora of that part of the national park that is located in the Ryazan region numbers currently 495 species of vascular plants, 31 species were placed under special protection. The fauna of the national park «Mesherskiy» numbers 46 mammal species, 32 species of fishes and round-mouthed fishes, 11 species of amphibians and 6 species of reptiles.

The «Muromskiy» federal wildlife reserve was arranged for preservation and restoration of numbers of Russian desman, listed in the Red Book, as well as other wild populations to include endangered ones. Furthermore, another species was taken to the reserve that is listed in the International Red Book - European bison. «Muromskiy» is one of few territories in the world where a population of bisons living in the wild has successfully adapted and stably propagates kind every year.

The «Klyazminskiy» federal wildlife reserve is located on the left bank of the Klyazma river; it was created for preservation of Russian desman. The rugged relief contributes here to colorful variety of the area. Almost the whole territory lies within the flood plain of three rivers and is rich in water sources. Here, there are more than 160 lakes, water bodies and ponds of various sizes! Most of them are outstretched and narrow old riverbeds formed out of the previous bed of the Klyazma river which is now the Southern boundary of the wildlife reserve.

Natural landscapes of the park bewitch any time of year. They arise in one's mind when we talk about charm and beauty of Russian forests and those miracles that certainly happen in wetlands. And, sure enough, these are pine forests of Meshera with healing pine-tree aroma.

For scientists and researchers, natural landscapes of Meshera represent one-of-a-kind biological complexes. A vast number of swamps, combined with an enhanced network of water bodies and taiga forests, give a unique environmental advantage to this area over many other natural sites which may look even more beautiful. Not without reason, Meshera is called a «biological shield» of Europe.