Podbabiogórze is the region of significant biodiversity and varied landscape. Nearly half of the area is forested. The beds of local river basins are situated 300 m above sea level, whereas the highest peak of Western (Orava) Beskids, Babia Góra, reaches 1,725 m above sea level.


PROTECTED AREAS in the County of Sucha

Babia Góra National Park

34-223 Zawoja 1403

tel. +48 (33) 877 51 10
tel. +48 (33) 877 67 02
fax: +48 (33) 877 55 54

The national park, established in 1954, has been listed in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 1976. Currently the park occupies the area of 33.93 (3393 ha), mostly within the County of Sucha. The second highest massif in Poland is situated in the reserve, with the well-observable levels of natural habitats changing with altitude: the lower forest belt (700 to 1,150 m above sea level), the upper forest belt (1,150 – 1,390 m), the dwarf pine belt (1,390 – 1,650 m) and the alpine belt (up to 1,725 meters). The latter habitat appears only in three places in Poland: apart from the Babia Góra massif, only in the Tatra mountains and Karkonosze (Giant) mountains.

Nearly 650 species of vascular plants, almost 300 species of mosses and liverworts (Marchantiophyta), as well as more than 1,300 species of fungi and lichens occur within the reserve. More than 70 species occurring in the Babia Góra National Park are alpine plants, some of them extremely rare, like Laserpitium archangelica Wulfen (the symbol of the National Park) or Cerastium alpinum (commonly called Alpine mouse-ear chickweed or Alpine chickweed), which appear only in this region of Poland. There is also a lavish world of fauna in the reserve, e.g. bears, wolves or lynx.

Natural reserves in Polica mountain

There are two natural reserves in the highest parts of the Polica massif (1,369 m above sea level):  “Prof. Zenon Klemensiewicz Natural Reserve in Polica” (established in 1972, with the area of 0.587 sq km, north from the peak, in the Commune of Zawoja)  and “Na Policy” Natural Reserve (established in 1998, with the area of 0.1321, south from the peak, in the Commune of Bystra-Sidzina). The aim of both the reserves is the conservation of the upper forest belt flora of spruce forest with the habitat of protected animal species.

Little Beskids Landscape Park

The landscape park, established in 1998, embraces the north-western part of Sucha County, i.e. the upper belts of Leskowiec and Łamana Skała mountain ranges with their southern and south-eastern slopes in the area of the communes of Stryszawa and Zembrzyce. The main idea of the Park is the conservation of natural and landscape values of the area, as well as the cultural heritage of local highlanders.

Protected Landscape Area of South Małopolska (Lesser Poland)

Apart from the attractive regions of Podhale, Orava, Pieniny massif, Gorce massif and several Bekids massifs (Niski, Sądecki, Wyspowy), the Protected Landscape Area of South Lesser Poland also embraces the following territories in the south-eastern part of Sucha County: south-eastern fragments of Koskowa Góra mountain in Maków Beskids massif, southern and eastern part of Polica mountain range in Żywiec Beskids, the hills south of Jordanów, and the areas reaching Podhale (i.e. the areas of the commune of Bystra-Sidzina, rural commune of Jordanów and parts of the communes of Maków Podhalański and Zawoja).

Nature 2000

In the County of Sucha, five areas belong to “Natura 2000”, an ecological network of protected areas in the territory of the European Union, i.e. two special areas of bird protection (Babia Góra massif and Polica mountain range) and three areas of special interest for the community (Babia Góra massif, Polica range and Little Beskids mountain range).

Furthermore, there are 58 other individual objects or complexes possessing the status of the monument of nature in the County of Sucha. Also numerous crystal clear mountain streams and creeks with cascades and waterfalls are of high natural and landscape value. The most beautiful waterfalls can be found in Mosorny Potok creek in Zawoja (the biggest waterfall in the county) and in Uporny Potok creek in Stryszawa Roztoki. The Oblica cave near Śmietarniak hill (768 m above sea level) in Skawica, with numerous narrow passages with the total length of 436 m, is the largest hitherto explored cave in Żywiec Beskids. The cave is not available for regular tourist visits.