National park Risnjak Mountain massive

Risnjak Mountain massiveRisnjak Mountain massiveRisnjak Mountain massiveRisnjak Mountain massiveRisnjak Mountain massiveRisnjak Mountain massive

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Risnjak was declared a national park in 1953. It is comprised of multiple mountain peaks, of which Veliki (big) Risnjak is the highest, reaching a top height of 1528 m above sea level. The area of the park is 3198 ha, and includes the central part of the massive, the highest peaks, and the most intriguing parts of the park.

In this small vicinity different climate influences intertwine, the cold alpine, the mild influence from the Adriatic Sea, continental influence, and the highland chill from the Dinara Mountains. According to the geological features, the area is of Mountainous karsts, and covered with forests and fields, except on the peaks. The distribution of the mountain vegetation is quite interesting. Cool summers, long snowy winters and an abundance of precipitation are the main characteristics of the Risnjak climate.

More than two thirds of the park is maintained as a strict reservation. Forests, and all its inhabitants are left to grow freely, with out the cutting down of trees, and the influence of man. Plant life in the park is very diverse, over 30 plant families have been registered, of which the most is comprised of beech and fir (Fagetum illyricum abietetosum), which can grow at heights up to1240 m above sea level, above that the forrest takes on sub mountainous beech (Fagetum croaticum subalpinum). The highest vegetation belt is the pine belt (Pinetum mughi croaticum).

There is a large gathering of fauna in the park area, which include the brown bear (Ursus arctos), roe-deer (Capreolus capreolus), deer, short-toed eagle, and since 1974 the mountain has been repopulated by lynx once again, which is where the mountain got its name from.

The best way to experience national park Risnjak is by visiting the mountain dorm, which is open from May 1st until October 31st. The park is located about 31km from Rijeka via Gornje Jelenje - 24 km, and then on a smaller road another 7km towards Lazac. From the parking lot at the town Vilje, there is a marked trail to the mountain dorm; the hike is about 1hour and 30 minutes.

Visitors can enjoy walking, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, fishing, speleological decants, and wildlife observation.

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