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Type of protected area - Where it is located
Typology: National Park; established with law 8 October 1997, n. 344 and Presidential Decree November 14, 2002.
Provinca: Catanzaro, Cosenza, Crotone
The Sila National Park was established in 1997 by reuniting the two nuclei of the pre-existing Park of Calabria, built in 1967; it occupies an area of 73,695 hectares in the provinces of Catanzaro, Cosenza and Crotone.
Tacina River - Sila National Park (photo www.parcosila.it)
The park is formed by the Sila Grande (to the north; the highest peak is Monte Volpintesta 1,730 m) and the Sila Piccola (to the south; the highest peak is Monte Gariglione 1,765 m), covered by vast expanses of impenetrable woods. It is a vast undulating plateau, with an average altitude of 1,200-1,400 m, with a series of rounded reliefs up to 1500-1,800 m high. In the splendid millennial forest of Fossiata (Sila Grande) there are the sources of the main waterways of the plateau: the Cecita, the Lese and the Neto. There are many water basins in the park, both natural and artificial: Lake Cecita (located at 1,280 m above sea level and a basin of artificial origin rich in trout), Lake Ariamacina, Lake Votturino, Lake Arvo, Lake Ampollino.
The Ampollino basin was created between 1923 and 1927 by barring the river of the same name at the narrow Trepidò with a gravity dam, with an arched plan, 26 meters high: the result was a reservoir with a total capacity of 67 million cubic meters, a perimeter of 26 kilometers and a length of about 9 kilometers. The Arvo lake, built between 1927 and 1931, covers the upper valley of the homonymous river, barred in Nocelle Soprana with a 21.5 meters high dam; it has a total capacity of 83 million cubic meters, a perimeter of 24 kilometers and a length of 8.7 kilometers. More recently, Lake Cecita and that of Ariamacina have been added. The first, surrounded by a dense forest of beech and larch pines, was created in 1951 on the course of the Mucone barring the valley of the same name with a large arch-gravity dam 166 meters long and 55 meters high: a lake with a maximum capacity was derived 108 million cubic meters, a perimeter of 46 kilometers and a length of 7.5 kilometers. The Ariamacina lake, with a capacity of 4 million cubic meters, was created in 1955 on the upper course of the Neto river, in a flat basin surrounded by the highest silane reliefs.
There Sila Grande it extends south of the rivers of the Trionto and Mucone rivers, up to the Savuto and Ampollino valleys; it represents the geographical heart of the plateau, where the coniferous forests follow one another at a loss, only interspersed with large grasslands that illuminate the bottom of the river basins. In its center the Sila Grande is characterized by basins enclosed by wild reliefs, now occupied by the artificial reservoirs mentioned above: the Cecita, the Arvo, set in a superb frame of forests, the Ampollino, and the small bodies of water of the Votturino and Ariamacina, protected from a nature reserve in the shadow of the imposing Mount Volpintesta.
To the south of the courses of Savuto and Ampollino extends the Sila Piccola, which forms a convex arch starting from the Tacina valley (the most beautiful and unspoiled of the Silane valleys) in the east, until it reaches the Savuto valley in the west.
The transhumant sheep farming between the Ionian Pre-Sila and the Sila Grande plateau is a tradition of very ancient origins.
In the Sila Piccola, the park includes part of the state forest of Roncino-Buturo and the Gariglione forest.
Flora and fauna
The most characteristic environment of the Park is the forest of various essences such as beech and labete, but with a predominance of the typical larch or silane pine, a botanical symbol of the protected area. The larch pine, a tree that sometimes reaches old age and exceptional dimensions, populates the entire plateau with pure formations (Fossiata, Gallonane), or in association with the beech (Paleparto, Botte Donato, Montenero) or with the beech and white labete (val of Tacina, Gariglione). In Fallistro there are the most imposing specimens, the so-called giants of Sila: fifty-three plants, including five mountain maples of about 450 years of age. Among the broad-leaved trees, in addition to the beech which is the most widespread species, we find Turkey oak and far away.
The fauna of the Sila, once very rich, is today reduced both in number of represented species and in number of specimens. However, the wolf counts here one of the most numerous herds in Italy, with about thirty animals. Among the ungulates are roe deer, genetically contaminated by the release of specimens from other regions, deer and deer, reintroduced by man. In the large hollow trunks of the older trees have their lair martens and wild cats; squirrel, dormouse and wild boar are very common. Otters still populate the banks of some tributaries of Lake Cecita. Even the birds are well represented, with important species such as the golden eagle and the Egyptian vulture, although not easily spotted; among the birds of prey, the biancone, lastore and the eagle owl; the black woodpecker also nests in the area. Lake Cecita has instead become a place of attraction for many aquatic birds, primarily anatidae and ardeidae (herons), which winter, and in some cases nest, on its banks.
Cecita Lake - Sila National Park (photo www.parcosila.it)
Grazing in the Sila - Sila National Park (photo www.parcosila.it)
Information for the visit
Access to the park:
- San Giovanni in Fiore (CS): access to Monte Gariglione and the southern sector of the park.
- Longobucco (CS): access to Bosco Gallopane and the northern sector of the park.
The Sentiero Italia crosses the Sila Piccola, from Villaggio Mancuso (1,280 m) to Caporosa, on the shores of Lake Ampollino.
Via V Cortese, 5