Ķemeri National Park

Ķemeri National Park



Location: West of Jūrmala   Map

Area: 381.65 km²


Ķemeri National Park is a small nature reserve located just West of Jūrmala in Latvia. It covers an area of 381.65 km². It protects an area of flood-land meadows, wetlands, bogs and swamps. It is famous as a home for nesting and migrating birds that settle here in late spring and most of the summer. Several watch towers are constructed for bird watching. Additionally a web of trails are established for hiking and bicycling. Additionally Kemeri National Park is famous for its healthy mud that carries medicinal qualities.


History and administration
In 1957, the Ķemeri Reserve was founded, which ceased to exist after eight years of formal existence. Later, various reserves existed in this area (Lake Kaņieris Ornithological Reserve (1977), Slocene River Valley with surrounding landscape (1977), Great Ķemeri Moor (1987)), until 1997 a national park was established and a park administration was established. In 2002, the nature protection plan of Ķemeri National Park for the period until 2010 was developed. The administration of Ķemeri National Park is located in the renovated historical building of Ķemeri - in the former restaurant "Jautrais ods" - now "Meža māja". The administration protects the natural values ​​of Ķemeri National Park, organizes scientific research and property management of the Ministry of Environment. The largest nature restoration measures implemented by the Ķemeri National Park Administration:

Slampe River Renaturalization Project (2005), in which the previously straightened section of the river was meandered;
Restoration of the hydrological regime of the Great Ķemeri Moor (2006), in which the negative impact of the previously established bog drainage ditch system was eliminated with the dam system.

Natural features
Protection regime
The territory of Ķemeri National Park is subdivided into the following zones of different nature protection regimes:

Nature Reserve Zone - established to preserve areas untouched by human activities and little modified, where undisturbed development of natural processes is ensured, rare or typical ecosystems are protected and which are essential for ensuring the ecological requirements of rare and migratory species. Practically any economic activity is prohibited in the area of ​​the nature reserve. There are two nature reserves in Ķemeri National Park: in Ķemeri moor and in the area where the Slocene river flows into Kaņieris.
Nature Reserve - established to protect ecosystems that have been little modified by human activities, deposits of rare and endangered species and rare habitat types, as well as developed peat quarries and mineral water formation processes. Economic activities that interfere with the natural development of ecosystems are prohibited in the nature reserve.
The Landscape Protection Zone was established to protect tourism, recreation and education resources, mineral water formation processes, preserve the natural landscape and cultural landscape and reduce the anthropogenic impact on nature reserve and nature reserve zones.

The neutral zone has been established to promote the development of the resort economy, to preserve the landscape and architecture characteristic of the region and to promote the sustainable development of the national park area.

Most of the ĶNP territory is covered by forests. The coast of the Gulf of Riga is characterized by dry pine forests that grow in barren sandy soil. Wet forests, such as the Kalnciems marsh massif, the Sloka lake marshes, are a valuable find of rare plants.

In Ķemeri National Park, most rivers are small and slow flowing. The natural runoff of several rivers (Vērsupīte, Slocene, Džūkste) in the national park has been significantly affected by the construction of canals and drainage ditches (the modified bed of the Slampe river has been excavated). The Slocene River is of landscape interest, which is located in the nature reserve almost along its entire length. Several species of protected animals can be found in the river and its banks (river snail, thick mother-of-pearl, woodpecker, black stork, water and pond bat, otter). Sulfur springs flow on the banks of the Vērsupīte, biologically valuable wet deciduous forests are located in its floodplain.

Kemeri National Park is rich in lakes. They are of various sizes, both deep and shallow, with a very large diversity of fauna and flora. Kaņieris is the largest lake in the national park in terms of area, Dūņieris stands out with its bay shores and many peninsulas, Blind Lake - with shallows (average depth is 0.5 m), while Valgums Lake is the deepest ĶNP lake with beautiful landscapes on the shores. Hundreds of small llama lakes are located in the Great Ķemeri Moor. Only a few of them have been given their name, such as Lake Zosu, Lake Gārgaļi. Lake Sloka is the second largest lake in ĶNP. Its shores are flat, mostly overgrown with pine and black alder forests. There are large stocks of sapropel in the lake. Medicinal sludge is obtained in the quarries of the bog adjacent to Lake Sloka.


Sulfur water and sulfur springs

Sulfur water is formed in gypsum-rich layers, where water rich in organic substances and low pH is filtered out of large bogs. Due to both the water-soluble effect on gypsum and the action of anaerobic sulphate-reduced bacteria, sulphate waters are formed. Hydrogen acid (H2S), a gas that dissolves easily in water and forms a weak acid, is formed when exposed to carbon dioxide. Sulfur waters containing H2S and its dissociation products enter the surface as sources through gaps in the earth's layer. Sulfur water is obtained both from springs and from special wells. Sulfur waters with a total sulfur content of not less than 10 mg / l are considered useful for healing. Sulfur waters are used externally for bathing and orally as drinking mineral water, as well as for inhalations. Sulfur baths increase the body's tone, improve blood circulation and metabolism. Sulfur waters are used orally mainly for the treatment of digestive and metabolic diseases, but for inhalation - to reduce the symptoms of respiratory diseases. Sources, whose waters are rich in various salts and organic substances, are called the eyes of the devil in Latvian folk tales. They have been used in healing for a long time.

Almost a quarter of ĶNP is occupied by bogs - a valuable deposit of many rare plants and animals, as well as an important stage in the water cycle. All three types of bogs can be found in the national park. Low or herbaceous bogs with a great diversity of moss species, various sedge species, beautiful members of the orchid family, rusty blackbird, common swallowtail, common crayfish and other plants can be found in Raganu bog near sulfur springs, as well as near Lake Kaņieris and Dūņieris. Transition bogs can be found in small areas near Melnezers, Putnu lake and Sloka lake. A typical high or moss bog is the Great Ķemeri Moor. There are also such high bogs in the territory of the National Park, the restoration of which is impossible in the next hundred years due to land reclamation and peat extraction. Such bogs are Sloka bog, Labais bog and Small bog. On the other hand, under several bogs, such as the Great Ķemeri Moor, Raganu bog and Sloka bog, when hydrogen comes into contact with gypsum layers, hydrogen sulphide and its rich springs are formed.