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Kamchatka Reserves: Kronotsky Reserve
September 3, 2018 11:50

There are several protected areas in Kamchatka: three reserves, five natural parks and two wildlife reserves.

Kronotsky Reserve has a fairly complex history, it is located in the Far East of Russia, covers vast territory of untouched, wild nature, and attracts an incredible number of tourists annually. Some of them come to see the eruption of the geyser at a distance of several meters, others want to see the brown bear, and someone wants to learn new things about the adaptation of living organisms to life activity in thermal fields or about different populations of char and kokan on Kronotsky lake.

In 1996, Kronotsky State Nature Reserve, together with the State Nature Reserve "South Kamchatka", was included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List in the category "Volcanoes of Kamchatka". There are sixteen volcanoes on the territory of the reserve and eight of them are active. They are all very different, they have unusual outlines, and all have their own particular "character."

The volcano Kronotskaya Sopka.  From the language of local residents of Kamchatka the name is translated as "High Mountain". Kronotsky lake, the largest freshwater reservoir in Kamchatka, is located here. Its length is twenty-seven km, and its width is eighteen km, and the area of the mirror is 242 km2. The lake undoubtedly occupies an honorable place in the list of unique objects of the reserve. Volcano Kizimen is still active today. Volcano Krasheninnikov is home to a population of snow sheep.  At the foot of the volcano Kikhpinych there is an ominous Death Valley, and on the slopes there is the Geysernaya river. The valley of death breathes poisonous gases, and every year carries the lives of dozens of voles, hares, small birds, and even foxes and large predators.  The Geysernaya River on its shores collected 40 small and large geysers, a large number of hot and pulsating springs, thermal lakes, steam-gas jets, mud boilers. The section of the canyon in which more geysers is concentrated was named the Valley of Geysers - this name was received from Tatyana Ustinova in 1941. The valley at the moment is one of the objects   under special protection.

The volcanic massif of the Greater Semyachik symbolizes the harmony of ice and fire. At the top of the volcano there are sharp peaks, they are similar to sharp teeth, which gave the second name to the Greater Semyachik - Zubchatka. There are two thermal fields there.  Just from here follows the river Old Semyachik, which goes around the remaining extrusions of the massif and flows into the Kronotsky Gulf of the Pacific Ocean, thereby forming the Semyachik Estuary. Liman is of exceptional importance from the ornithological point of view and is on the list of unique wetlands. They are inhabited by sea eagles, swans, various sea birds, seals, foxes, etc. Also the last herd of wild Kamchatka reindeers lives in the reserve. Near the cape of Kozlov, sea lions and sea otters live.  Wolverine, mink, ermine, lynx, squirrel, lemmings, marmots, ground squirrels ... It's hard to list all! According to the latest data of insects alone, 767 species are registered.  It is also worth noting that in the territory of the reserve there are a lot of hot springs: Chazhminskiy and Nizhniy Chazhminsky, Bolshoy Tyushevskiy and Maliy Tyushevskiy, Kipely, Verkhneemyachik and Nizhnesemyachik. Kronotsky State Biosphere Reserve is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, and is under the protection of the Federal State Enterprise Kronotsky Reserve.
Location: this large and one of the most famous Kamchatka nature reserves is created in the east of Kamchatka, on the area of the Kronotsky Peninsula. 

Here are 8 active volcanoes (the highest one is Kronotskaya Sopka (bald peak), 3528 m), thermal lakes, waterfalls and the pearl of the Kamchatka Territory - the Valley of Geysers. More than 800 brown bears live on the territory of the Kronotsky Reserve. 
What to see: the staff of the reserve organize one- or three-day and multi-day excursion tours. During these tours you can visit the unique Valley of Geysers, the crater and caldera of the Uzon volcano, the coast of Kronotsky Lake and the Valley of Death.

In the reserve you can see picturesque larch forests, fir groves and Shchapinsk spruce forests,   the Semyachikhinsky, Tyushevsky and Chazhmin hot springs, and also get acquainted with the glaciers preserved on the Kronotsky Peninsula. Moreover, there are guided tours lasting up to 10 days in the marine area of the reserve. During these tours you can see and make pictures of sea lions and whales. 

Volunteer programs: the reserve invites volunteers every year during the warm season: from May to October. The reserve needs volunteers who want to spend at least a month on the peninsula. The most demanded are men who have skills in building and repairing houses  and   are able to perform various household tasks. Together with the staff of the reserve the volunteers build, paint, repair houses, and also arrange ecological paths. The reserve pays the volunteers a ticket for a flight from Elizovo to his / her territory and back, food, accommodation in the houses on the cordons "Istok", "Ozerny", "Grassy" and "Ipooin", as well as a one-day helicopter tour to the Valley of Geysers. 

How to get there: You can get to the area of the Kronotsky Reserve by helicopter from Elizovo, walk on foot or come by sea in the ship. In any case, you need to buy a ticket for a guided tour, including the right to visit the reserved area.

Guided tours

"Valley of Geysers"

The site of the geysers of the Kronotsky Reserve is one the most spectacular in the world, there are more than 30 large geysers in a small area.

Observation of the eruption of geysers, visiting hot springs, mud boilers, warm lakes and panoramas constitute the main parts of the excursion in the Valley of Geysers. Visitors will be told about the causes and consequences of the catastrophic descent of the landslide in 2007, and see Lake Geisernoe. The guide will talk about the nature of volcanism and geothermal activity, as well as the mechanism of action of the geyser and various geyser models, including the adaptability of the animal and plant world to a special microclimate in the geothermal region.

The duration of the stay in the territory of the Kronotsky Reserve is 2-2.5 hours.
"Caldera of the Uzon volcano"
The caldera of the Uzon volcano is a basin of 9x12 km, with a variety of hydrothermal activity. On the route visitors will see the lake Bannoe, Chloridnoye, Vosmyorka, geyser Mutny, mud boilers, clay volcanoes, and impressive panoramas. 
The area of volcanic activity is very interesting due to its chemical processes in an aggressive environment and the adaptability of living organisms to existence under adverse conditions. The tourist groups will find out  the most important information  about the caldera of the Uzon volcano: the geological history of the area, the current state of  thermal areas, the variety of sources, the chemical and microbiological processes taking place on the Uzon, the features of the vegetation and fauna of the caldera. From August to September it is likely to meet the bears as they come for comes berries growing in tundra. The duration of the stay in the territory of the Kronotsky Reserve is 2-2.5 hours.

Visiting the territory of the reserve is strictly limited. The main objectives of the reserve are to preserve the original appearance of the wild nature, its protection and research. Only in some areas of the reserved territory recreational areas are allocated, where it is allowed to organize excursions for visitors. Excursion routes for small groups of tourists are laid only in the Uzon-Geyser district.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kamchatka Russian National Parks travel to Russia Ecotourism  

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