Russia is home to a new national park. And it’s one of Europe’s biggest

A new national park has been established in the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It extends for 122,000 hectares, is home to rocky islands covered by lush forests and is one of the old continent’s largest.

Lake Ladoga is a huge lake – Europe’s biggest – located in a wild and inhospitable area in north-western Russia home to immense forests, bays, gulfs and rocky islets. It is home to the Ladoga seal, a freshwater subspecies of the ringed seal that can only be found in these waters. The area has an extraordinary nature value and has thus been declared a national park by Russia’s federal government.

Rocks and forests

The national park stretches for 122,000 hectares characterised by rocky islands covered by thick forests, and is one of the biggest protected areas of the old continent. The area will be accessible to all in two or three years’ time thanks to the development of a network of trails.

Lake Ladoga, Russia
The Ladoga seal is one of the endemic species to the Russian lake. The species is in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species © Ingimage

Thanks to Greenpeace

Greenpeace Russia has actively contributed to the establishment of the protected area by supporting the inclusion of important portions of land, identifying the most threatened species, and fighting wild fires and illegal logging. Also, Greenpeace has been successfully organising supervision camps for ten years in collaboration with other groups in order to prevent forest fires. Thanks to these activities the organisation has put out 80 fires on the islands during the tourist season.

The national park is the result of a long battle started 27 years ago. Along with Greenpeace Russia, more than 40,000 people, 40 scientists and 19 environmental organisations have opposed many oil companies that wanted to exploit some areas now included in the national park.

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