About the park

EXCEPTIONAL VALUE OF RAMBYNAS REGIONAL PARK

 

In short. The Rambynas Regional Park is small but very interesting. It preserves the landscape of a small but extremely valuable fragment of the Nemunas Valley with the famous Rambynas Hill, the bend of Ragainė, the confluence of the Jūra and the Nemunas, and many small old-riverbed lakes. The Rambynas Hill is a famous old shrine. The pantheon of Lithuania Minor, the Bitėnai cemetery, which sheltered the remains of Vydūnas, Martyna Jankus and other famous personalities are located here as well. The stories of book-smugglers are also remembered in the Rambynas Regional Park. The Vilkyškiai ridge is very expressive. Only here you can see a colony of white storks in Bitėnai. Only here a herb of grace (Gratiola officinalis) grows.

 Landscape. Where the Nemunas erupts through the Vilkyškiai ridge and bends in the shape of a sickle, nature and man have created a unique complex of values ​​with a unique natural creation, an old sanctuary, a symbol of the Lithuanian national revival and book-smuggling epochs, the Rambynas Hill. It offers magnificent views of Ragainė, reminiscent of fierce battles with the Crusaders, Tilžė and the Nemunas Delta.

Dead nature. A unique natural creation is the Vilkyškiai ridge with the Nemunas breakwater, is called the Ragainė bend. Unique old-riverbed lakes called ’žiogiai’. A unique confluence of the Jūra and the Nemunas.

 Live nature. The only white stork colony in Lithuania is settled in the pine forest in the center of Bitėnai. The largest Lithuanian river delta with the power of spring floods, the greenery of wide flooded meadows and the eyes of ancient lakes begins from the confluence of the Jūra and the Nemunas. The only place where  herb of grace can be found in Lithuania is by Lake Merguva. "Broom of witches", a 17-trunk spruce tree, grows in Vilkyškiai forest.

Cultural heritage. The Rambynas Hill is the unique sanctuary of the Skalviai tribe, the symbol of the Lithuanian national revival and book-smuggling epochs. The homestead of Martynas Jankus is still called the Mecca of book-smugglers, and the Bitėnai Cemetery next to the Rambynas Hill is the pantheon of Lithuania Minor. It is the place of eternal rest of Vydūnas, Martynas Jankus and other prominent personalities. The town of Vilkyškiai still preserves the architecture of Lithuania Minor.

Exceptional phenomena, living traditions, historical facts, personalities. Mardi Gras (Šiupinys) is celebrated in the regional park according to the traditions of Lithuania Minor. Bitėnai is a point of printing and secret transportation of Lithuanian literature to Lithuania, therefore Rambyne celebrates Book-Smuggler‘s Day. The first festival of Lithuanian songs took place on the Rambynas Hill (at the end of the 19th century), where the first Lithuanian performance was performed.

Cognition and visiting opportunities: places of interest, trails, tracks, observation towers, sightseeing, museums, expositions:

• Observation Decks on Rambynas Hill

• Pantheon of Lithuania Minor - Bitėnai Cemetery

• Cognitive nature trail

• White stork colony in Bitėnai

• Martynas Jankus Museum

• Šereiklaukis, Opstainiai and Opstainiai (Vilkyškiai, Raudondvaris) mounds.

• Giant's graveyard.

• Šereiklaukis Manor

• 39 -oak alley

• Natural monument "Witch spruce"

• Vilkyškių town - an urban reserve

• Exposition of Rambynas Regional Park values ​​in the Visitors‘ Center

• Šereiklaukis forest trail

 

5 observation towers: in Bardėnai village to the Nemunas Delta landscape, by Lake Merguva to Ragainė Castle and the Rambynas Hill, in Šereiklaukis village to the confluence of the Jūra and Nemunas Rivers and Šereiklaukis Manor, in Šereiklaukis forest path to the confluence of the Šešupė and the Nemunas, in Vilkyškiai to Vilkyškiai Old Town urban reserve.

In the Rambynas Regional Park:

• the natural landscape is the largest part of Šereiklaukis and Bitėnai forests, the Nemunas, the ancient lakes, the meadows of the Nemunas in the Ragainė bend; natural heritage objects - the natural monument “Witch Spruce” with the highest protection status, growing in Vilkyškių forest, and the state protected natural heritage object “Oak Alley”, growing near Vilkyškiai mound;

• the rural landscape - Bardėnai, Bitėnai, Keleriškės, Opstainiai villages, cultivated fields and other agricultural lands in the Vilkyškiai ridge;

• the urban landscape is represented by the town of Vilkyškiai;

• the cultural landscape is mainly concentrated in three landscape complexes. In Šereiklaukis complex - Šereiklaukis manor with a park, tree alleys and Koplyčkalnis and landowners' cemetery, Šereiklaukis mound, ancient cemetery Milžinkapis, ancient settlement Sidabrakalnis, Šereiklaukis village school, old cemeteries; In Vilkyškių complex - Vilkyškiai church, manor, mound with ancient settlements, Oak Alley, Opstainiai Mound and ancient cemetery; In the Rambynas-Bitėnai complex - Rambynas sacred mound, Bitėnai-Užbičiai and Bitėnai-Šilėnai cemeteries, M. Jankus Homestead-Museum, Bitėnai village stork colony; red-brick schools, restaurants, pubs and residential and farm buildings, old Evangelical Lutheran cemeteries throughout the park;

• the functional landscape is the border guard service observation towers and other infrastructure along the Nemunas River from Šereiklaukis to Bitėnai.

Detailed research on flora has not been carried out in the last few decades in the Rambynas Regional Park. According to previous studies conducted in the former Rambynas Landscape Reserve, 647 native plant species were registered. As the area of ​​the regional park is much larger than the former reserve and includes some anthropogenic habitats, there should be about 700 native plant species in the area of ​​the the Rambynas Regional Park in total. In addition, survey and other episodic researches have identified about 150 alien plant species in the regional park, 14 of which are considered invasive. The regional park has a particularly large variety of meadows of varying humidity. They are home to the largest diversity of protected species. Most of the protected plant species typical of meadows are found in the meadows in the bend of Ragainė, and the northern shore of Lake Merguva stands out with the largest concentration of protected plant species. The great diversity of species in meadows is due to the fact that they are distinguished by a great variety of ecological conditions. In the territory of the regional park, species not found elsewhere in Lithuania are found, as well as species with the largest and most viable populations.

In forests, the diversity of plant species is much lower than in the meadows of the regional park. The diversity of forest plants has been significantly affected by the relatively intensive economic use of forests and the large number of alien trees and shrubs in them, which clearly have a negative impact on native species. The habitats of the wetlands in the park are very small, but they are home to specific species typical of intermediate wetlands.

The diversity of fungi was studied in detail in 1975–1978, 581 species of fungi were registered.

Extensive fauna diversity studies have not been carried out in the Rambynas Regional Park. Animals in some taxonomic groups have been studied more, and data for some groups of animals are almost non-existent. Of the invertebrates, nocturnal butterflies were the most extensively studied. During the research in 2011, 257 species of moths were identified, of which 59 species are rare in Lithuania. There are 4 species of reptiles in the park: agile lizards (Lacerta agilis), viviparous lizards (Lacerta vivipara),slowworm (Anguis fragilis), grass snakes (Natrix natrix).  In addition to conventional amphibians lika moor frog (Rana arvalis) common grass frog (Rana temporaria), gray buzzard (Bufo bufo), etc. there was a protected species of fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina) registered in three places.

The diversity of birds living in or temporarily visiting the Rambynas Regional Park is perhaps the most thoroughly studied. 24 species of protected birds are found in the territory of the regional park. Out of these, 12 species are included in the Lithuanian list of protected animals, plants and fungi, and another 12 species are protected under international agreements.

Of the mammals, the bats the best studied in the Rambynas Regional Park. A total of 9 species of bats were found in this area. In the forests, especially in the Šereitlaukis forest, which is the largest massif, large mammals are found: boars (Sus scrofa), deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cerv uselaphus), elk (Alces alces). Predatory mammals such as brown foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and wood martens (Martes martes) are founf as well. Forests are inhabited by invasive predatory mammals - mangroves (Nyctereutes proyonoides). Small mammals are dominated by brown vole (Clethrionomys glareolus), common vole (Microtus arvalis), and marsh vole (Microtus oeconomus). In the regional park, in the Šereitlaukis forest, there is a rather large population of the protected species - the fat dormouse (Glis glis). The condition and abundance of fat dormouse are constantly monitored and nests are built for them.

9 mammal species living in the park are included in the lists of protected species.

The diversity of forests is determined not only by human activities, but also by climate, terrain and soils. The forests of Rambynas were first mentioned in written sources in 1385 in the Teutonic Order's "Descriptions of Lithuanian Roads", at that time the forests were much larger. Over the centuries, forests have declined due to human activity. It was in 1918 that Baron von Dresler, the landowner of these places, sold the Šereiklaukis forest for felling, because it was necessary to give the dowry when his daughter married. After that, part of the forest was replanted, part of it re-grew. There are four forests in the territory of the park: Šereiklaukis (about 1500 ha), Vilkyškiai (about 200 ha), Rambynas (about 150 ha) and Bardėnai (100 ha). They belong to the Rambynas forest district of Šilutė forest enterprise. These forests are dominated by coniferous stands: pine forests make up 47%, spruce stands - 20%, the area of ​​all stands. Of the soft stands, birch groves cover the largest area 15%, and oak groves cover 9% of the forest area. Forests are dominated by middle-aged stands, accounting for 39% of the total stand area, young stands account for 26%, maturing stands - 12%, mature stands - 23%. The area of ​​stands that have reached natural maturity is over 44 ha. 3800 m³ of timber is felled by the main fellings per yea, the annual volume of all fellings is 5410 m³ of timber. Within five years, 66 ha of forest will be replanted and 34 ha will be left for replanting. Šereiklaukis forest is the most interesting and biologically diverse. The Šereiklaukis forest grows on the northern part of the Vilkyškiai ridge. The very rugged terrain and the great variety of soils determine the growth of very different forests. Apparently nowhere else will we find where in such a small forest area (about 1500 ha) even eight forest habitats of European importance (NATURA 2000) would be distinguished out of the thirteen found in Lithuania, which are protected throughout Europe because they are rapidly disappearing due to human activities. In the places of the small lakes in this forest, small high marshes with cranberries ripening berries have formed over time. Very close to them you can see lichen, where nothing wants to grow except for pines and lichens, because there is a lack of moisture and the soil is very infertile. Here you can see a spruce-tree grove, where even during the daytime it is dark from its density. And after climbing the hill, you will see an oak grove that is almost a hundred years old, apparently still planted by East Prussian foresters. A relic of boreal forests - the Boros schneideri - has survived and lives in the Šereiklaukis forest. The fat dormouse has recently been found and has been observed for several years. One of the most beautiful Lithuanian butterflies lives in the meadows in the forest - the mahaon and the great apollo. Of the ten bat species listed in the Lithuanian Red Data Book, as many as seven are found in this forest. You will easily find sandstone carnations in the pine forests, you will see spotted boletus in the oak grove when the mushrooms start to grow in autumn, and red tops - albinos grow in one of the young stands of this forest. There is a forest growing here in the Rambynas Regional Park, which is particularly important for biodiversity conservation, which should be seen by future generations.

 

Last updated: 26-06-2020