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Baikal National Parks

The Zabaikalsky National Park is located on the territory of the Republic of Buryatia, on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal. In the north the National Park borders on the territory of the Barguzinsky Nature Reserve. There are 3 settlements within the park.

The Zabaikalsky National Park was created in 1986 to preserve a unique natural complex of Lake Baikal. The area of the park is 270000 ha.

The territory of the park is characterized by a continental climate with long cold winter and warm and sometimes dry summer. The climate of the coastal part of the park is milder because of the lake. Here an average temperature in January is -19°C, in July +14°C. In mountains an average temperature in January drops considerably. The Baikal water is rarely warmer than +14°C even in the hottest time.

The Zabaikalsky National Park is situated in typical taiga zone with predominance of mountain relief. On the territory of the park there are large orographic zones: the Barguzin ridge, the ridge of Svyatoy Nos Peninsula, the Chivyrkuysky isthmus and the Ushkany Islands. The Chivyrkuysky isthmus joins Svyatoy Nos Peninsula with the eastern coast of Lake Baikal. The Ushkany Islands are the summits of the Academic Range, the biggest part of which is hidden underwater.

A land frontier of the national park lies along the Barguzin River that does not belong to the park. A big number of small rivers feeding the lake run on the territory of the very park. The largest lakes – Arangatuy and Maly Arangatuy – are located on the isthmus and are connected with Chivyrkuysky Gulf.

On the territory of the park there are mineral thermal springs, the most famous of them are situated in Zmeynaya Bay.

Vertical vegetation zonation that is typical for all mountainous regions can be easily observed in the park. Pine, cedar elfin wood, cedar, larch and fir prevail here. Deciduary forests occupy insignificant areas. Dark coniferous fir forests can be met in the most humid parts of the Baikal coast. The flora is represented by a lot of endemic, rare and relict plants.

The park is inhabited by 44 species of mammals, 241 species of birds, 3 species of reptiles and 3 species of amphibians. Medium and big-sized mammals such as sables, squirrels, muskrats, blue hares, ermines, brown bears, deer, elks are the most common. The most important seal rookery was found on the Ushkany Islands. The part of Lake Baikal and the rivers, which belong to the territory of the park, are full of fish. Chivyrkuysky Gulf is one of the main places where a lake cisco spawns.

There are numerous unique nature objects on the territory of the park. They are landscape natural monuments – the Ushkany Islands, Turali musical sands, hot springs etc. Also there are natural-historic monuments and archeological monuments such as sites of the Neolithic Age, settlements of the Bronze Age and the early Iron Age, graves of nomads of XIV century on the territory of the park.

Today the park sees lots of researches carried out here and environmentally friendly tourist itineraries being created on its territory.

The Pribaikalsky National Park was founded in 1986 to preserve the unique natural complexes of Lake Baikal, to study and use them to develop tourism here. The total area is 418000 ha, there are 46 settlements where 15000 people live. The park occupies the territory along the western shore of Lake Baikal from the village of Kultuk up to the Kheyren River including the whole Olkhon Island.

The park is located in the climate zone which is milder being influenced by the huge water mass, with highest humidity and rainfall in the region. Mean January temperature is -18°C, in July and August it is from +11°С to +14°C, mean annual temperature is +1,9°C.

The territory of the national park is notable for its various forms and big roughness with quite insignificant variation of absolute elevations (up to 900 m).

The Pribaikalsky National Park is situated within the catchment basin of Lake Baikal and in the southern part – of the Angara River (Irkutsk reservoir).

The coastline of the lake within the territory of the park is 470km long (excluding the Olkhon coastline) and is not much dissected.

The territory of the park is covered with a well developed river net and only Olkhon Island and the Near Olkhon Area are not rich in surface waters. In the northern part of the park there are small lakes of different origin.

The Pribaikalsky park is situated on the slopes and at the bottom of the mountains of Southern Siberia, that is why distribution of the vegetation cover obeys the vertical zonation law.

Coniferous breeds like pine, larch, cedar prevail here. The most widespread of broad-leaved trees are birches and aspens. The list of rare and protected plants of the national park includes 76 species, 20 of them are inscribed to the Red Book. On its territory It is also possible to meet very rare species of mushrooms and lichens.

The fauna of the South-West and West Baikal area is extremely distinctive and diverse. Here there are 59 species of mammals, 272 – birds, 6 – reptiles, 3 – amphibians, 40 –fishes and the big number of various insects, spiders, mollusks.

Bear, elk, deer, fox, wolf, musk deer, vole, chipmunk and squirrel are considered to be common animals here. It is possible to see moles, badgers, wild boars in the forest-steppe zone.

The unique wintering of waterfowl in the conditions of the Eastern Siberia formed on the unfrozen source of the Angara River. In some years the total number of these birds amounts to 10000 and even more.

There are 54 nature monuments on the territory of the park. The geologic nature monuments include weathering forms, caves, sand dunes, rocks. The most significant of them is Ulan-Nur Cape, massif with rare accumulation of unique minerals, and Shaman Stone, the tiny islet in the Angara source and the single surface ledge in the Angara water. 

The list of the hydrological monuments includes springs, Tazheranskiye lakes and mineral springs. Two objects belong to botanical monuments – the straggling tree called “Muzhestvo  zhizni” (“Courage of the life”) and the relic spruce grove on Olkhon Island. Zoological monuments are the places of the herring gull nesting, the islands of the Small Sea and the cliff near the Circumbaikal Railroad. The most interesting and popular nature monuments – small Sandy Bay, a calling card of the lake, and Sagan - Zaba cliff with its petroglyphs.

One of the historical sites of the national park is the famous Circumbaikal Railroad, the monument to the history itself and engineering art.

Every year the Pribaikalsky National Park is visited by a lot of people, most of them go to the Small Sea and Olkhon Island.

There is a large number of tourist camps on the territory of the park and there are good conditions for the development of organized tourism.

The Tunkinsky National Park was formed in 1991 with the aim to preserve the natural complexes of Lake Baikal pool, Turkinskiy valleys, mountain regions of the North Sayan and the mountain range Khamar-Daban. The park is situated on the territory of Republic Buryatiya, its area is 1183, 7 thousands ha. The territory of the park is situated in the zone of the moderate sharply continental climate, which is characterized by big annual and day’s difference of a temperature and not big number of sediments. The middle temperature in January is from -22 to -19C, in July from +17 to +14, for all this the maximum low temperature in the valley can attain -50, and the highest +34C. The largest number of sediments is noticed on the slopes of the mountain range Khamar-Dabar, the least number in Tukinskiy valley can be during some years when a snow cover doesn’t exceed some centimeters here. The territory of the park represents a strongly cleaving area the most part of which is occupied with mountain slopes. The biggest plain is Turkinskaya valley, which stretches from west to east on 200km and attains a width 20-40km.  The mountains represent the system of parallel mountain ranges which are stretched from the southwest to the northeast. The maximum height attains 3172 meters. The largest river of the national park is Irkut which has many inflows. The source of the river is found in the centre of Sayansk Mountains, in Lake Ilchir, and the mouth is found within Irkutsk limits. (Irkut empties into the Angara). A water level in the rivers depends on the number of sediments and on the speed of snow melting. The rivers become free of ice in the end of April and at the beginning of March and freeze in the end of October – at the beginning of November. You can observe that the rivers are chilled through a bottom and make a powerful superglacial.

In North Sayan and Khamar-Daban mountains there are a lot of small, beautiful, ice origin lakes. Also there are mineral waters both hot and cold, the most of which are curative. The middle mountain landscapes of the taiga are spread the most on the territory of the park. The character of a plant cover depends on a high-attitude zone, a slope orientation and climate conditions. The most typical woods are from a cedar including a fir-tree and a fir. In the lower part of the slope along the river you have a possibility to meet groves of poplars, aspens, births. A thick under- brush is consist of alder, mountain ash, honeysuckle, rhododendron golden. There are a lot of blueberries, cowberries, ledums, lycopodiums and a solid rug of green moss. The dried shine forests of lash forming in conditions of dry climate are often met close to Mongol boundary. There is a forest boundary on the height mark 1900-2200 meters over the level of water. Here Alpine meadows replace forests, and than high-mountain tundra and goltsy replace it. More than 40 sorts of mammals dwell in the park-bear, wolf, bobcat, wild boar, Altai wapiti, roe deer, marmot, musk deer, squirrel, ermine, sable, wolverine and so on. It is very rarely to meet on the cliffs the animals which are under a threat of disappearance - Siberian mountain goat and its hunter snow leopard. There are a lot of birds on the territory of the park, more than 200 sorts, 7 of them are entered to the Red book. The unique mountain nature, mineral springs, and a possibility to combine an active tourism and rest attract the tourists. Every year 10 thousands tourists visit the park. Moreover on this territory a local population lives; they are explained about a need to guard the nature.

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