Călimani National Park

Călimani Mountains represent the most grandiose volcanic complex of the Romanian Carpathians and the youngest mountains of our country. It cover an area of about 2000 sq. km. laying from north to east on 60 km. It is an immense andhesytic barrier between the two Romanian provinces, Moldavia and Transylvania. Mountains with volcanic origins, Călimani is the biggest crater (without activity) in Europe, measuring about 10 km in diameter. The highest peak is Pietrosul Călimanilor (2103 m), but there are also other formations more than 2000 m height, like Retitis, Călimani Izvor, Călimani Cerbuc.

Photo: Marius Traian Roşca

In 1975, the Biological Research Center in Cluj proposed Călimani Mountains as national park. In 1976, the scientific data for park establishment were gathered in a research work. In 1990, the Ministry for Waters, Forests and Environment declared the park with a surface of 15,300 ha In 2000, the Romanian legislation list the Călimani National Park with a surface of 24,041 ha (actual surface). Since 2003, the park is officially a protected area, category II IUCN, managed for ecosystem protection. The main objectives include preserving wildlife, habitats and landscapes as well as sustainable development of the neighborhood area so that the conservation targets to be achieved; education and research are encouraged, while recreational activities are allowed. Landowners and local communities benefit from their rights in accordance with the conservation management principles. In May 2004, the Călimani National Park Administration was settled as part of the National Authority for Forests Management.

The sulfur quarry in Negoiul Românesc (photo: Alpinet.org)

Călimani National Park shelters a rich variety of wild plants and animals along the rim of the largest volcanic crater in Romania. From the valley floor up the sides of Călimani's crater, a large variety of forest ecosystems thrive: mixed forests of spruce and beech in the Mureş River Valley; spruce forests in the Neagra Valley; mixed forests of spruce and Arolla pine trees in the scientific reservation; and above the tree line, dwarf pine bushes and juniper shrubs. Beyond 1900m are the siliceous alpine grasslands. Călimani National Park plays an important role with respect to the conservation of Romania's wildlife and mountain ecosystems. The beetles identified to date belong to the following 7 families, the Amphibian Class is represented by 8 species, and 5 species of reptiles have been identified. 68 species of birds have been identified through field observation in the north side of the Park. But research on the Calimani Mountains by Milvus Group indicates that there are some 108 species of birds, 21 of which are included in Annex I of the Birds Directive, species requiring the designation of special areas of conservation. Mammals make up a relatively small fauna group in the Park, but are well represented by big carnivores, including brown bear (Ursus arctos L.), wolves (Canis lupus L.) and lynx (Lynx lynx L.); by the weasel family, including otters (Lutra lutra L.), martens (Martes martes L.) and badgers (Meles meles L.); and finally, by the wild cat (Felis silvestris Schrb.).

Saru Dornei (photo: Alpinet.org)

The landscape is also animated by roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L), red deer (Cervus elaphus L) and wild boar (Sus scrofa L), all preferring the abundant fresh grass and remoteness of the Park. We ask that visitors respect the peace and tranquility which makes Calimani such a haven for wildlife. From the rodent family the main source of food for owls and other small predators. The Park is home to fat dormice (Glis glis L.), common dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius L.), wood mice (Apedemus silvaticus) and alpine shrews (Sorex alpinus Schinz). In the Park's forests, two bat species have been observed: the brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus L.) and the parti-coloured bat (Vespertilio murinus L.). Both are listed in Annex IV of the Habitats Directive, species requiring strict protection.

The 12 Apostles (photo: Dinu Oprea)

Things to do in Călimani National Park: hiking, mountain biking, equestrian tours, cross country skiing, bird watching, photo hunting, backpacking, paragliding.

Info from the official site of the park.

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