Landscape Park of the Knyszyn Forest Professor Witold Sławiński

Close and yet unknown. Accessible and mysterious. Breathing with peace, but also surprising with its diversity: Knyszyńska Forest . The closest neighbor of the world-famous Białowieża Forest.

The vast forest complex stretching to the north and east of Białystok was called the Knyszyn Forest relatively recently, in the second half of the 20th century.

Landscape Park of the Knyszyn Forest Professor Witold Sławiński was established in 1988. It is currently the largest landscape park in the province. Podlasie and the second largest in Poland.

The richness of the Knyszyn Forest Landscape Park is the diversity of habitats, including those testifying to its boreal character, typical of areas located much further to the north. Here, among spruce peat bogs, you can feel like in the Siberian taiga. The impression is enhanced by the presence of birds characteristic of the forests of the north, such as the nutcracker or the spruce crossbill. Over 150 species of breeding birds have been found in the Forest, including such rare and valuable species as: black stork, honey buzzard, lesser spotted eagle, black grouse, three-toed woodpecker, pygmy owl or teng owl. In the valleys of the forest rivers, in the meadows captivating with the smell of grasses and herbs, you can hear the characteristic voice of the corncrake, which is increasingly rare in most European countries.

The terrain of the Knyszyn Forest, shaped during the glacial periods, surprises with its diversity. Next to flat river valleys, we encounter moraine elevations, the most impressive of which is the range of Świętojańskie Hills. The highest hills, such as Góra Kopna, Góra Św. John, or Mount St. Anna reach a height of over 200 m above sea level

Noteworthy is the forest pine. Like the ubiquitous Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris but how different from her cousins from other forests. Soaring, with a straight trunk and a small, high crown, it is sometimes called Supraska, Knyszyn or mast pine, because in the 16th and 17th centuries it was a valued material in boatbuilding, from which masts of sailing ships were made. The local people liked the pine. Votive shrines and crosses placed on the trunks gave the trees an aura of sanctity and ensured inviolability.

A dozen or so minutes’ drive by car is enough to move from the center of Białystok to a place where wild nature presents its primeval beauty, where in the shadow of forest pines and spruces you can find the tracks of a wolf and a lynx – great predators once inhabiting the endless forests of Europe. If you are lucky, you can meet European bison eye to eye, as Adam Mickiewicz called them “emperors of the forests” – living here in the wild. The numerous deer found in the Forest found excellent living conditions.

The network of forest waters is unusual. The life-giving bloodstream of the Forest is created by numerous streams, rivers and rivers fed by nearly 500 springs – natural groundwater outflows characteristic of this area. The quality of forest waters is evidenced by brown trout and grayling occurring especially in the upper sections of rivers, associated rather with mountain streams.

The legacy of the old Great Forests of Europe, where time flows in an unchanged rhythm determined by the cycle of seasons, pulsating with the heart of springs, where the September nights of the Golden Polish Autumn resound with the love song of deer.