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Bashkiriya National Park

Region: Urals 
Republic of Bashkortostan

The Bashkiriya National Park was established in 1986. It is located on the southwest slopes of the Southern Urals. The park borders upon Shulgat-Tash zapovednik on the east and on the north and serves as a buffer zone for the reserve.

Geographical highlights
The park is located in the middle section of the lower western ranges of the Southern Urals. The local terrain is cut by deep river valleys. The central, northern and eastern areas of the park constitute a raised mountain plateau, cut by deep, steep gullies and river valleys. The highest peaks in the park reach 500 800 meters. The rivers deviding the mountains have formed deep, narrow canyons with rocky protuberances in intriguing shapes (The Devils Finger, The Sphinx, The Castle, The Ducks Nose and others). The regions climate is continental and is subject to sharp changes. Average January temperatures: -45º -48ºC. Average July temperatures vary from +19,7ºC in the lower altitudes to +13,6ºC in the mountain elevations.

Flora and Fauna
The park owes the great variety of its flora to the patchiness of its vegetation covering, which combines steppe, broadleaf, taiga and alpine meadow species. In the mountainous sections of the park, where peaks reach 700 m above sea level, the vegetation is divided into vertical belts ranging from meadow-steppes and deciduous forests to subalpine meadows. The parks rich tree and shubbery vegetation includes linden (Tilia cordata), Norway maple (acer platanoides), English oak (Quercus robur) and two species of elm (Ulmus glabra, Ulmus laevis). Meadow-forest, steppe and alpine meadow areas posses the riches flora, that includes a variety of rare and endangered species that have been registered in the Red Books of Russia and Bashkortostan. These are primarily orchids, such as yellow ladys-slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), the ladys-slipper orchid C. macranthon, dark-winged orchid (Orchis ustulata) and soldier orchid (O. militaris), as well as different feathergrasses that grow here. The park is home to practically all the vertebrates that inhabit the Sothern Urals. Predatory mammals include the brown bear (Ursus vulpes), wolf (Canis lupus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), lynx (Felis lynx), badger (Meles meles), forest marten (Martes martes), ermine (Mustela erminea) and others. Other animals include alpine and European hare (Lepus timidus y Lepus europaeus), Russian flying squirrel (Pteromys volans), squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), chimunk (Tamias sibiricus), etc.

What to see
The Bashkiriya National Park features many tourist attractions and nature monuments, including a cliff fortress, a cliff castle and the Devils finger cliff. The Kutuk Cave, a natural landmark, is a speleological museum and research site. The caves features the disappearing rivers Kutuk, Sumgan, Kukkul and Ulaklan. Underground chambers reach 50 meters high and includes stalactites, stalagmites, grottos and cave pearl. The most attractive sites for tourists are the Belaya and Nugush Rivers, the Kutuk Cave and the Nugush Reservoir. People practice rafting, hiking and caves investiagtion.

Adapted from National Parks of Russia Guidebook 1997
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