The Augustow Canal is a breathtaking example of the wealth of nature. Surrounded by lush greenery and crystal-clear waters, it is a true wonder to behold. There are four National Parks and the deepest lake in Poland in the area.
Bialowieza National Park
Created in 1921, it protects the best-preserved fragment of the Białowieża Forest (1/6 of the Polish part of the Forest) – the last natural forest in Europe’s lowlands, of primaeval nature, which stretched centuries ago in the zone of deciduous and mixed forests. It is characterized by high biodiversity. The park includes 809 species of vascular plants, over 3,000 species of spore plants and fungi with almost 200 species of mosses and 283 species of lichens. Over 8,000 species of invertebrates, about 120 species of breeding birds and 52 species of mammals have been found.
The Białowieża National Park is the first Polish natural site entered by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. It is also the most important – central zone of the Białowieża Biosphere Reserve.
Biebrza National Park
It was created in 1993 and it is the largest national park in Poland and one of the greatest in Europe. The purpose is to protect the vast peat bogs of the Biebrza Basin and a small fragment of the Sokólskie Hills. The most valuable assets are the wide valley of the Biebrza River with the largest complex of peat bogs in Poland called the Biebrza Marshes. The Biebrza National Park is also described by vast landscapes, ecosystems and habitats that have already been irretrievably destroyed elsewhere as a result of drainage swamps and fen.
The Biebrza Marshes are considered key refuges for water and marsh birds in the country and in Central Europe.
Narew National Park
It was created in 1996. The Park covers the swampy Valley of the Upper Narew in the section Suraż – Rzędziany. It is called the „Polish Amazonia” and is considered one of the last natural, regularly flooded river valleys in Europe.
The most significant natural value is the unique character of the river. Within its borders, the Narew flows through a number of channels, separating and connecting, forming an irregular, complicated network. Over 200 species of birds have been found here, including 28 endangered on a global or European scale. The park is inhabited by around 40 species of mammals, 13 species of amphibians and numerous species of fish.
Wigry National Park
It was created in 1989. The park is distinguished by an extraordinary wealth of lakes surrounded by vast forests. In addition to the largest lake Wigry, famous for its picturesqueness, there are also 41 natural water reservoirs in the park. A peculiarity is mid-forest, small dystrophic lakes (with acidic water rich in humic substances), surrounded by a floating sheepskin consisting mainly of sphagnum mosses. The Czarna Hańcza, a tributary of the Nemunas, flows through the Park.
Hańcza – the deepest lake in Poland
It is a part of the Suwałki Landscape Park. It is the deepest lake in Poland and in the Central European Plain (108.5 m maximum depth). A typical gutter reservoir with an area of 305 ha, almost 5 km long and a maximal width of 1 km. The shores are covered with numerous boulders and the coastline is varied with picturesque bays and peninsulas. The bottom is carved with ditches, pits and steep ravines – hence it is of great interest to divers.
Hańcza is a lake with very clean, cool, well-oxygenated and highly transparent waters. 24 species of fish have been found here.