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The Aukštaitija National Park Celebrates 40 Years of Existence


The Aukštaitija National Park is the oldest national park in Lithuania; it was established in 1974 in order to preserve and restore the natural and cultural identities of the Aukštaitija ethno-cultural area and to use them in a sustainable way. This is the land of lakes, 126 bigger and smaller lakes are scattered there.

The origins of the Aukštaitija National Park go way back. In 1960, the Ignalina landscape and Ažvinčiai forest botanical-zoological reserves were set up, which later became the core of the national park. At the initiative of Professor Česlovas Kudaba and some other authoritative environment protection specialists, the first Lithuanian National Park Management Plan was approved on 29 March 1974. This date is considered the birthday of the park.

There were disputes over the name of the national park. Already then there were thoughts about establishing other national parks, this was why there were plans d to call the park by the region's name, meaning the Aukštaitija name; however, seeking to emphasize the importance of the first park, it was named the National Park of the Lithuanian SSR. It was renamed the Aukštaitija National Park after Lithuania regained its independence.

The park area is 40,574 hectares, water occupies 15.5 percent, forests -- 70 percent of the territory. The Aukštaitija National Park is situated in a hilly and wooded area in eastern Lithuania, about 100 kilometres north of Vilnius, at the junction of the territories of three administrative districts (Ignalina, Utena, and Švenčionys). It is the second largest national park in Lithuania, it occupies the area of 40,500 hectares. The park management headquarters are located in Palūšė.

Water constitutes as much as 15 percent of the park area. The largest lake is Kretuonas -- 829 hectares. The Tauragnas Lake is the deepest lake not only in the park, but in the entire Lithuania (its depth is 62.5 meters).

The territory's surface was formed by glaciers, which fully shrank away just 14,000 years ago, this is why the terrain is extremely rugged and varied. During the last glaciations period, moraine lake- heights were formed, and the Šiliniškiai ridge marking the edge of the glacier gives the Aukštaitija National Park landscape a peculiar identity and attracts tourists, who come here from all over the world.

During the Jubilee year, the staff of the Aukštaitija National Park invites you to travel the already familiar and the innermost areas of the park. We have prepared hikes, thematic excursions, educational programs, and the "Aukštaitija National Park Secrets" event cycle, which will take place from spring to autumn.

Public Information Division

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas