Tatra National Park – Basic Information

Tatra National Park was declared in eponymous Slovak National Council Act No. 11/1948 Coll. of 18 December 1948, which entered into force on 1 January 1949. The Western Tatras were added to Tatra National Park via Slovak Socialist Republic Regulation No. 12/1987 Coll. of 6 February 1987. Government Resolution No. 58/2003 Coll. of 5 February 2003 entered onto force on 1 March 2003 and modified the boundaries of Tatra National Park and its buffer zone.

Tatra National Park is the oldest national park in Slovakia. It covers the highest elevations of the Carpathian range and its highest peak, Gerlachovský štít (2,655 MASL). The park is divided into 2 basic units: the Eastern Tatras (High and Belianske Tatras) and the Western Tatras. The High Tatras are 26 km long, the Belianske Tatras are 14 km long and the Western Tatras are 37 km long. The national park covers a total of 73,800 ha and its buffer zone accounts for another 30,703 ha. It covers territory in the districts of Tvrdošín, Liptovský Mikuláš, Poprad and Kežmarok in the Žilina and Prešov Regions.

Tatra National Park is bounded by Poland’s Tatra National Park to the north with which it shares bilateral cross border protected areas. The natural beauty of the Tatras and its priceless value were the reason for its inclusion by UNESCO decree into the network of biosphere reservations in the MaB (Man and Biosphere) program in 1993. The crown jewels are a network of small conservation areas that comprise a total of 27 national conservation areas, 23 conservation areas, 2 conserved areas, 1 national conserved natural landmark and 2 conserved natural landmarks covering a total of 37,551.53 ha, or 50.7% of the total area of the entire national park.

Tatra National Park is also classified into the NATURA 2000 system. Tatra National Park is home to Site of Community Importance Tatry (SKUEV0307) and Special Protection Area Tatry (SKCHVU030). The NATURA 2000 system intends to maintain or improve conditions for rare and endangered species of plants and animals and natural habitats to preserve biodiversity in the EU.

Park land is used to fulfil its primary mission, which is the conservation of exceptional natural treasures, and for recreation, sports, education, therapy and hiking usages. The national park is visited by nearly 3.5 million visitors on an annual basis with approximately 600 km of hiking trails. The most serious problems currently facing the park are recent wind and bark beetle catastrophes in spruce forests, relatively high anthropic (human) pressure on the park land and indirect anthropogenic influences. 

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