In 1882, the Commission of the Primorsky Governor-General declared Kronoki to be a reserved area. The purpose of creating the reserve was to maintain and increase commercial stocks of sable.
The reserve was given official status on November 1, 1934. The current area of Kronotsky Reserve is more than one million hectares, including a three-mile water zone in the Pacific Ocean adjacent to the coastal border of the reserve.
In February 1985, the Kronotsky Reserve was internationally recognized through the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program and was included in the international network of biosphere reserves. In December 1996, the territory of the reserve was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka site.
About 90% of the reserve is made up of mountains of the active Eastern volcanic belt. They create a typical volcanic landscape, giving the reserve a unique appearance. There are 25 volcanoes, including eight active ones.
The Valley of Geysers is among the unique natural sites in the reserve. Numerous gushing, pulsating, and pouring hot springs are concentrated in the deep, six-kilometer-long canyon of the Geyser river. The largest active geyser, the Giant Geyser ejects a water column of 30 meters, while its steam rises up to 300 meters.
The Uzon Caldera is a huge volcanic bowl measuring 9 by 12 kilometers. Uzon is among the active volcanoes that are in their fumarole-salfate stage.
Kronotsky Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Kamchatka: its surface area is 242 square kilometers. The lake's inhabitants include an isolated sockeye salmon population and three endemic species of char that are under the careful watch of ichthyologists.
The Valley of Death is an area of 100 by 30 meters in the upper reaches of the Geyser river at the foot of Kikhpinych Volcano. Due to the strong concentration of toxic gases in the area, mainly hydrogen sulfide, many different birds and animals, including brown bears, wolverines, and foxes die here every year.
The Bolshoi Semyachik volcano is a huge mountain massif with a glacier and fumarole grounds at its foot.
The Graceful Fir Grove is a forest area of about 30 thousand fir trees occupying 22 hectares. Its origin is still a mystery to scientists.
The reserve is home to the world's largest population of the wild brown bear. There are also consistently high numbers of sables, foxes, otters, swans and Steller's sea eagles. Wild northern reindeer can be found only on the Kamchatka peninsula.
Birds of 236 species (19 species from the Russian Red Data Book, 43 species from the Kamchatka Red Data Book) either nest, migrate, or winter at the reserve. The Steller's sea eagle, golden eagle, merlin, peregrine falcon and Aleutian tern are among the rare bird species found here.
The reserve's flora include 767 species of vascular plants, including 11 species listed in the Russian Red Data Book and 29 species that are rare in Kamchatka and the Far East. Some species grow only in the reserve and are unknown to other areas of the peninsula.
The Official Travel Site of Kamchatka / visitkamchatka.ru
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