The Shushensky Pinewood National Park

This park was founded in 1995 in order to preserve the unique ecosystems of the southern Krasnoyarsk Territory – from the alpine meadows to the forest steppe. Features of natural importance and beauty include the outer, ribbon-like pine forests, the boggy lake ecosystem which is a relic of the Ice Age, and vast mountain cedar forests.

The park is situated in the centre of Asia, within the Western Sayan Range and Southern Minusinsk. The Perovsky area of the park is in the forest steppe region of Minusinsk, between the Yenisei and the Oya rivers. The park’s terrain is very picturesque and consists of flat benches, hills, ridges and dunes. The hills’ altitude does not exceed 320 meters above sea level (the Shushenskaya Mountain is 318.2 meters above sea level; the Zhuravlev Mountain is 307.5 meters above sea level).
The mountain area is located at the Borus Range which is a part of the Western Sayan mountain system. It is notable for its mountain-taiga landscapes with majestic views. The summits are about 1300-1500 meters high; the maximum altitude is 2318.7 meters (Poylova Mountain).

The mountain zone has a well-developed, branched system of beautiful mountain rivers and streams flowing from the Borus Range and emptying into the Sayano-Shushenskaya reservoir. These are the Yenisei’s tributaries: the Poylovo, the Big and the Small Andyr, the Golovanskaya Sosnovka, the Joyskaya Sosnovka, the Big and the Small Govoriha. The area around the inflow has the rivers form amazing coves (16-20 meters wide). There are two marvelous lakes situated at the Perovsky plain area – the Perovo and Butakovo.

There are several routes to the park:
‒ from Krasnoyarsk by Krasnoyarsk-Shushenskoye bus (twice a day, travel time – 10-12 hours);
‒ by train to Abakan and further – to the Shushenskoye village.

Plant life
The park occupies two climatic zones: the forest steppe and the taiga. The Perovsky area consists of mixed pine-birch forests that grow on plain surfaces. In the eastern part there are birch woods situated at inter-lake and inter-bog plain regions.

The mountain area includes all the spectrum of high-altitudinal vegetation complexes of middle-mountain and high-mountain regions. At altitudes of 400-1500 meters the mountains are covered by dark coniferous and cedar woods. The upper forest border (1500-1700 meters) is formed with cedar and fir-tree open forests interchanging with sub-alpine shrubs and areas of moss-and-lichen tundra. Vascular plants account for over 750 species.

Animal life
There are more than 330 vertebrate species in the park including: fish – 9 species; amphibians – 4 species; reptiles – 6 species; birds – 272 species; mammals – 47 species. The forest steppe zone is populated with the common squirrel and the arctic hare which are common in all the forests alongside the river plains.

The most common rodent in the mountain forests is the chipmunk. Larger animals include the brown bear, the Siberian musk deer and the Siberian red deer. The wolverine bear prefers the upper mountain belts; the American mink lives in all the fishy rivers and lakes.

One of the typical mammal predators of the Perovsky zone is the common fox. The muskrat inhabit practically all the water basins and boggy lowlands of the plain; the weasel is usually met in meadow-steppe forest edges while the badger is the common dweller of the Minusinsk pinewoods.

The elk is encountered sporadically. It is very rare in the boggy areas of the park plains as well as in the upper courses of the mountain rivers. The roe deer, the most numerous species of the park’s hooved animals, occupies the softwoods and broad-leaved forests of the plain and piedmonts.

The following rare animal species are represented in the park fauna: the lesser white-fronted goose, the hooded crane, the black stork, the Berwick’s swan, the eagle-owl, the pale harrier, the greater spotted eagle, the imperial eagle, the Neumann’s kestrel, the fish hawk and the white-tailed eagle.

Natural attractions
Tourists are attracted by the amazing and intact natural beauty of the Sayan Mountains with its unparalleled landscapes. The Borus Range and the Sayano-Shushenskoye reservoir see more and more visitors every year. There are also the ribbon-like pinewoods of the Yenisei’s right bank, the alpine meadows, the glacial lakes and the intact cedar taiga.

One should definitely visit the boggy lake ecosystem of the plains which consists of the lakes Perovo and Butakovo, remnants from the Ice Age. It is possible to see a great variety of birds and amphibians in their natural habitat in every corner of the park.

The Zhuravlinaya hill (the Crane hill) is 35 meter-high sand dune covered with pine forest. It is closely adjacent to a bog and is home to many cranes.

The Peschanaya hill (the Sandy hill) is the highest dune of the pine forest; its height is 45 meters. From its summit a magnificent view is opened up at the Shushenskoye village and its outskirts: the Yenisei, the Koybalskaya steppe and the park’s mountains – the five-domed Borus Range.

Culture and history
There are many historical and cultural monuments in the region including the ruins of the Sayan dungeon. The prison was built by the Cossacks in 1718 during the conquest of the region. The museum of nature is situated in the administrative building in the Shushenskoye village. There are expositions demonstrating the natural attractions and the history of the territory. You can familiarise yourself with the variety of plant and animal life of the Western Sayans and know more about its geological past. The museum has a large collection of minerals that can be found in the park and its surroundings.

The “Berendey” tree nursery is the research and educational area of the forest. Its area (2 hectares) is occupied by 170 trees and shrubs of local and introduced plant species.

Within the mountain forest, hunting for bear, the roe deer and the Siberian red deer is allowed. The most favorite fish species in the Perovsky forestry is the Crucian Carp.

The special “Welcome to the Kantegir” tour is offered for those who like fishing and outdoor recreation. Tourists can visit the Sayan Mountains, sailing down one of the most beautiful Siberian mountain rivers – the Kantegir – onboard a comfortable boat. trans siberian railway