The Northern Velebit National Park marks its 21st anniversary today. The area of Northern Velebit was declared the eighth Croatian national park on this date in 1999 and is therefore the youngest Croatian national park.
As the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy writes, the park is completely within the boundaries of the Velebit Nature Park, and it has been declared a national park due to the diversity, variety and peculiarity of karst forms, the richness of the living world and exceptional natural beauty in a relatively small area. Due to its values, the Northern Velebit National Park has become part of the Natura 2000 ecological network.
The beauty and value of the entire Velebit was recognized by UNESCO by including the mountain Velebit in 1978 in the network of world biosphere reserves "Man and Biosphere" (MAB). The UNESCO World Heritage List also includes beech forests located in the area of the Hajducki and Rozanski kukovi Strict Reserve on Northern Velebit. They were included in the Census in 2017, together with beech forests from the Paklenica National Park, and are part of the serial cross-border nomination "Beech rainforests and native beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe" which consists of another 60 beech forests in eight countries. In addition, the Northern Velebit National Park is a member of the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) network as a national winner in the theme of "Tourism and Protected Areas".
One of the most famous sites in the Northern Velebit National Park is Zavizan, where the oldest meteorological station in Croatia is located. In the immediate vicinity of Zavizan is the Velebit Botanical Garden, founded in 1967, in which today over 300 plant species grow, of which the endemic Croatian Siberia and Velebit degenia stand out.
The fauna of the Northern Velebit is also interesting and diverse. Various animal species live in a relatively small area, the Park is rich in numerous endemic species, while this part of Velebit is inhabited by all three species of large carnivores in Croatia - bear, wolf and lynx. Their presence in the same area is a sign of the preservation of the ecosystem.
In addition to biodiversity, the special feature of this protected area is the exceptional geodiversity. The area of the Park is listed among the most interesting speleological sites in the world due to the large number of deep pits. The Lukina jama-Trojama cave system, 1431 meters deep, is the deepest Croatian cave, and is also ranked among the deepest in the world.
Covering an area of 109 square kilometers, the National Park has over 30 hiking trails that offer visitors numerous opportunities to discover new spaces. These trails offer beautiful views of numerous mountainous areas and peaks, but also the Kvarner islands and Lika. One of the true masterpieces of construction, the Premuzic trail passes right through the Northern Velebit National Park and leads in a simple way through the harshest and most rugged parts of this mountain.
Visitors can also find out all about the many special features of the Park at the Velebit House Visitor Center in Krasno. It is a place that allows the presentation of natural and cultural values of the Park throughout the year.
This year, the Northern Velebit National Park celebrates its birthday with an educational quiz via social networks with special prizes, and more about the special features of this protected area, the possibilities of visiting and celebrating the 21st birthday of the Park is available at this link.