New national park "Khibiny" established In the Murmansk region
The decree on the establishment of the national park "Khibiny" was signed by the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. "The purpose of the national park is to conserve the natural complexes of the mountain tundra and the northern taiga of the Khibiny and Lovozero mountain ranges of the western part of the Kola Peninsula, which are of great environmental, scientific and recreational importance," the website of the Russian Government informs.
Khibiny is a small mountain massif in the central part of the Kola Peninsula beyond the Arctic Circle. It is unique in terms of geological structure and topography. The greatest number of rare plants in the Murmansk region are found here. There are small glaciers on the territory, formed several hundred years ago and preserved to this day, as well as sacred places of the Saami - indigenous people of the North. In addition, Khibiny is a popular holiday destination for tens of thousands of Russian tourists.
"We are glad that 101 years after the idea of creating a national park in the Khibiny was first voiced by the well-known geographer Veniamin Semyonov-Tian-Shansky, this territory finally got a protected status. This is our common success: the work of WWF would be virtually impossible without significant support from the supporters of WWF-Russia, participation partner organizations and the Government of the Murmansk region in the process," says Oleg Sutkaitis, Director of WWF-Russia Barents Office.
Work on the creation of nature protected area in the Khibiny began in 1990s. The park project has undergone many changes: during difficult negotiations with mining companies, all mineral occurrences were cut from the boundaries of the park, and the total area was reduced by one third. The territory of the created national park is 84 804 hectares and consists of two sections: "Western Khibiny" and "Eastern Khibiny".
In the near future, the institution that will manage the territory should be determined. It will develop a documentation on the national park, conduct land surveying and organize protection of the territory.