Piatra Craiului National Park’s visitor centre to open this weekend
The Visitor Centre of the Piatra Craiului National Park, practically a museum dedicated to the exquisite national park in Romania, will be commissioned on Saturday, April 16th in Zărnești in Brașov county, in the presence of the Environment minister Cristiana Pașca-Palmer.
The Visitor Centre is part of a biodiversity conservation programme worth about RON 6 million. Almost RON 4.9 M were granted from the European Development Fund and the rest was provided by the Government.
The tourist information centre of Piatra Craiului National Park aims to be a public awareness tool. It will serve the interests of the 40,000 locals living in the park’s neighborhood, of the 5,000 children from the schools and kindergartens from around, as well as of the NGOs activating in this region. 110,000 tourists are estimated to visit the centre on an annual basis.
Piatra Craiului Massif was declared as natural reserve on 28 of March 1938 “due to the unique character of the massif, where rare species like: Dianthus callizonus, Hesperis nivea, Minuatia transilvanica, Leontopodium alpinum are living, and also because of landscape beauty.”
The Piatra Craiului National Park is located in the Meridional Carpathians, and it also includes parts of the neighboring mountain passes Rucar-Bran and Rucar-Zarnesti. The Piatra Craiului National Park stretches over the counties of Brasov and Arges, including areas belonging to the towns of Zarnesti, Moeciu, Bran, Rucar and Dambovicioara.
Zărnești is the most important town for visiting the national park. It is also an ideal starting point for approaches in the northern part of the massif. This town lies at a distance of 28 km (17 mi) from the city of Brasov by road, bus or railway. From Zărnești, an 11 km (7 mi) long road makes the connection with the comfortable chalet “Plaiul Foii”, which is a good starting point for climbing the ridge.
In 1938, when the natural reserve was set up, it was only on 440 ha. This surface increased in 1972, at 900 ha, nowadays the special conservation area (core area) covers 4879ha, and the buffer zone stretches on 9894 ha. In 1952 (the year when the first forest management plan was set up in the Piatra Craiului area) around 17.2% from the entire massif surface was designated for conservation purposes.
The invertebrate fauna is particularly rich counting 35 endemic species and 91 species identified as new for science. There is also a large number of butterfly species, up to this day 216 species being identified as either rare or endemic.
The Piatra Craiului National Park also holds a rich bird fauna, including the 111 species identified so far, on the territory, rendering the area an ideal destination for bird watching.
Over 40% of the 100 mammal’s species found in Romania live here. Up to this day 21 species of bats have been identified in caves or old tree hollows throughout the national park.
The Piatra Craiului National Park also holds a large population of large carnivores: bears – Ursus arctos; wolves – Canis lupus; lynx – Lynx lynx. Studies conducted so far have revealed the presence of three migrating corridors, used by these species, between the Piatra Craiului and Bucegi massifs, pcrai.ro informs.