Tatra National Park
The area of Tatra National Park is 21,116 ha (2,200 ha in Chochołowska and Lejowa Valleys belongs to Witowska Wspólnota Leśna). The Park lies in the whole area of Polish Tatra and in the part of Tatran foreland (environs of Zgorzelisko and Głodówka). The address of the Headquarters of TPN: Zakopane, ul. Chałubińskiego 42 a.
Economic activity in Tatran National Park is subject to regulations concerning environmental protection. Although people are legal owners of the area, they must behave like guests. Tourism is allowed only when appropriate regulations are adhered to. There are fines for violating them. You can walk only along marked routes; you must not go off the track if it is not necessary. Sports (mountaineering, skiing, mountain cycling and paragliding) are allowed only in appropriate zones. Camping and campfires are prohibited, unless it is associated with rescuing human life. You must not collect plants or crops, hunt, frighten animals, make a noise, and bring dogs with you. There are admission charges, which are subject to changes; during the season they are higher.
Very often, tourists take pictures of the most beautiful and the most characteristic plants in Tatra Mountains. In spring, woodland clearings are overgrown with violet crocuses (the most beautiful are in Chochołowska Valley and on Cyrhla). In summer you can meet yellow globe flowers, growing mainly in red panicles, edelweisses (occurring on steep slopes of calcareous rocks), various gentians, Turk's cap lilies, and carlines. A brown bear is the king of Tatran animals. The estimated Polish Tatran population of these animals is about 20 individuals. They sometimes appear on tourist routes and near mountain shelters. Tatran chamoises live usually in rocky areas, on crests and mountain pastures (there are only a few dozens of them). Alpine marmot is another rare animal whose population has decreased. This shy animal is not too numerous. Its size can be compared to that of a relatively big cat. It lives in rock debris and in pastures located higher in the mountains. A more unique rarity is a golden eagle, nesting in impenetrable rock towers. Tatran population of this majestic bird consists only of a few pairs. Apart from that, in Tatra Mountains or sometimes near them there are numerous animals, such as deer, roe deer, wild boars, foxes, wolves, and least weasels. Lynxes and wild cats are sometimes observed too. Apart from eagles, there are such birds (also belonging already to rarities) as black grouses and capercaillies, nut-crackers, colourful wall-creepers, and dippers which live near mountain streams.
Wojciech Gąsienica Byrcyn is the director of Tatra National Park. He is a forester. He graduated from Main School of Agriculture in Warsaw. He had a one-year training in USA associated with wildlife protection in national parks. He was awarded with Japanese government certificate concerning management of protected areas. He wrote 70 scientific and popular scientific papers. When there is a need, he is a mountain guide and rescuer, but his hobby is poetry. One of his books is a collection of mountain people stories written in their dialect. The book is titled "Dostać Orełki". The stories are devoted to family memories and his dearest subtatran areas. He loves Tatran wildlife. "All natural wealth of Tatra Mountains" - says Wojciech Byrcyn - "all plants, animals and inanimate nature, became protected in 1954, when Tatra National Park was created. Many scientists investigate this natural laboratory. Tourists, coming to Tatra Mountains, can also find out about their beauty and admire it. All that is possible because many human generations, being aware of the value of nature in the mountains, have taken care about it. Great and reasonable care, associated with numerous things that can be dangerous, results in some restrictions for all the users of this unique area. Today, over 2.5 mln people comes to Tatra every year. It is, therefore, impossible to make every place available to them. Thus it is necessary to walk just along tourist tracks and protect every species of plants and animals. So, you must not hurt, destroy or collect any plant, animal, and inanimate nature!