Losiny Ostrov National Park, Russia

Losiny Ostrov is a forested area on the territory of Moscow (the districts of Metrogorodok, Golyanovo, Bogorodskoye and, slightly, Sokolniki and Yaroslavsky) and the Moscow Region (urban districts of Balashikha, Korolev, Mytishchi and Shchelkovo). The largest forest area in Moscow and the largest among the forests located within the city (Moscow part of the forest). Since 1983, it has the status of a national park, formed simultaneously with Sochi. Specially protected area of federal significance, category II according to the IUCN classification.



The total area of the national park in 2001 was 116.215 km². The forest occupies 96.04 km² (83% of the territory), of which 30.77 km² (27%) are within the city of Moscow. The rest is occupied by water bodies - 1.69 km² (2%) and a swamp - 5.74 km² (5%). An additional 66.45 km² has been prepared for the expansion of the park.

The park is divided into five functional zones:
Protected area, access and any economic activity are strictly prohibited - 1.8 km² (1.5% of the territory);
Specially protected zone, access is allowed in agreement with the administration or accompanied by park employees - 42.9 km² (34.6%);
The zone of protection of historical and cultural monuments, open to the public, activities that change the historical appearance of the landscape are prohibited - 0.9 km² (0.7%);
Recreational area, open for free visits - 65.6 km² (52.8%);
The economic zone includes objects that are important for the life of the park and adjacent residential areas - 12.9 km² (10.4%).

It includes 6 forest parks: Yauzsky and Losinoostrovsky (located within Moscow), as well as Mytishinsky, Losinopogonny, Alekseevsky and Shchelkovsky near Moscow. Geographically, the park is located at the borders of the Meshcherskaya lowland and the southern spurs of the Klin-Dmitrov ridge, which is the watershed between the Moscow River and the Klyazma. The terrain is a slightly hilly plain. The height above sea level ranges from 146 m (floodplain of the Yauza River) to 175 m. The relief is the flattest in the central part of the park. The most picturesque is the southwestern part of the park, where the terraces over the Yauza floodplain have rather steep slopes.

The sources of the Yauza and Pekhorka rivers are on the territory of the park. The natural channel of the Yauza was significantly destroyed during peat extraction in 1950-1970; the channel of the Pekhorka has changed a lot during the construction of the Akulovskaya hydroelectric power station. On the territory of Losiny Ostrov, several small rivers and streams flow into the Yauza, including Ichka and Budaika.


The most picturesque places

River valley Yauza in the Bogorodskoye area (Moscow)
Taiga near Moscow: old coniferous and mixed forests, (Moscow)
Alekseevskaya grove and Alekseevsky (Bulganinsky) pond (Balashikha)
Yauza wetland complex and Mytishchi water intake station (Mytishchi)
Korzhevsky plantings (man-made forest park landscape on the border with the city of Korolev)
Quarry near st. Peat enterprise (Korolyov)


Interesting objects to visit

Moose Biostation. Works since 2002. It opened in December 2015 after renovation. Here you can touch and feed the moose, learn everything about his life.
Arboretum. Opened in 2014. Three topics are intertwined in the theme of the exposition - the diversity of Russian forests, the fauna of the Moscow region and the work of forest workers. The arboretum is located next to Alekseevskaya grove (a site of 200-year-old pine and linden forests). In the landscape of the grove, the features of the planning of a country estate of the turn of the 17th-18th centuries are still traced, barrows of the 12th century.
Museum "Russian way of life". Exists since 1998, renovated in 2015. The peasant and suburban life of the turn of the 19th-20th centuries and the economy of the Vyatichi during the colonization of the valley of the river are shown. Moscow (X century).
Birdwatching tower on the Chugunny Bridge (Mytishchi). From the tower, shallow waters and reed thickets are clearly visible. Interesting to visit in spring and autumn, during the migration.



Until the middle of the 20th century, the area was known as Pogonny Elk Island. This name comes from the era of court hunting: the island is a grove among cultivated land, linear - from the "hunt", dog hunting; moose - from the largest object of hunting.


History of the park

Elk Island has been known since 1406. From the 15th to the 17th centuries, the lands were part of the Taininskaya palace volost, the lands of which from ancient times served as hunting grounds for Russian princes and tsars. So, in 1564, Ivan IV hunted bears here. In general, the reserve regime was maintained for Losiny Ostrov. In 1799, the forests were transferred to the department of the treasury and the first topographic survey was carried out; The forest is divided into quarters, the area of each is equal to a square verst. The first forestry was founded here in 1842, at the same time, the senior tax inspector Yegor Grimme and the junior tax inspector Nikolai Shelgunov completed the first forest ordering. According to its results, the dominance of spruce (67%) was noted in the forest fund, which was subsequently replaced by pine and birch.

The word "island" in central Russia called a forest area in the steppe, a hill on the plain, a "mane", low and flat-topped mounds, hills. In one of these meanings, the word "island" became the basis for the name of the village of Ostrov in the Moscow region. In the toponym “Losiny Ostrov”, the term “island” is used in the sense of “a piece of forest” and “forest grove”.

In 1844, the forester Vasily Gershner laid the foundation for the creation of man-made forests in Losiny Ostrov. Active silvicultural work, mainly sowing and planting pine, has been carried out for 115 years. These plantings are still resistant to intense anthropogenic impact. In the second half of the 19th century, clearings were cut for forest ventilation and some small areas with old trees were cleared.

The growth of the population of Moscow in the second half of the 19th century caused a dacha boom, and the development of railways determined popular destinations. In 1898, a marshalling yard at the 10th verst (now Losinoostrovskaya) was opened near the forest, and the rapid development of the village of Losinoostrovsk began. During this period, the area, known as Pogonno-Losiny-Ostrov, becomes a popular vacation spot for local residents and summer residents. In 1903-1908 the forest was cut through by the Moscow circular railway. In the 1910s, botanical and entomological excursions were made to Pogonno-Losiny-Ostrov. The forest is described as consisting mainly of pine, spruce and linden. The fauna consists of hazel grouse, pigeons, thrushes, falcon, hawk, kite, crow, eagle owl and owl. Watch foxes, hares, squirrels, ferrets, hedgehogs. Moose are found closer to Bolshiye Mytishchi. There are almost no songbirds. There are a lot of hazel, raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries and wild strawberries, cranberries are found in peat glades. There are few mushrooms. There are lodges in the forest where there is a samovar, milk, and honey.

The idea of creating a national park as early as 1912 was put forward by the head of the forestry, collegiate adviser Sergey Vasilyevich Dyakov. In 1934, Losiny Ostrov was included in the 50-kilometer "green belt" around Moscow.

Most of the forest was cut down during the Great Patriotic War. In 1943, a decision was made to restore the forest fund of Losiny Island. The implementation of the plan began in 1944. In 1979, by a joint decision of the Moscow City and Regional Councils of People's Deputies, Losiny Ostrov was transformed into a natural park, and on August 24, 1983, a national park was formed by a decision of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR.

In September 2006, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov sent a letter to the Government of Russia with a request to reduce the area of the national park on the territory of Moscow by 150 hectares (it was planned to lay the route of the Fourth Transport Ring in this territory, as well as build a cottage settlement - "Ambassadorial Town"). It was proposed to compensate for these territories at the expense of the Gorensky Forest Park of the Balashikha Special Forestry (Moscow Region). In January 2007, the Russian Government denied the Moscow mayor's request to change the boundaries of Losiny Ostrov.

In September 2016, the Belokamennaya station of the Moscow Central Ring was opened directly on the territory of the national park.

In March 2019, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that he would instruct the Ministry of Natural Resources to change the boundaries of the Losiny Ostrov park in the Moscow region in order to modernize a section of the Shchelkovo highway. It is planned to exclude 140 hectares of territory from the composition of the national park, of which 54 are forest plantations. In return, Losiny Ostrov will be given almost 2,000 hectares of other forests near Moscow. Greenpeace Russia appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office to prevent the seizure of land from the Losiny Ostrov park. TV presenter and environmentalist Nikolai Drozdov appealed to the governor of the Moscow region Andrei Vorobyov to save Losiny Ostrov.



Alekseevsky forest park
Mytishchi Forest Park
Yauza Forest Park
Losinoostrovsky forest park
Losino-Popogonny forest park
Shchelkovsky forest park
Sokolniki Park"


Security mode and security zone

On March 29, 2000, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin signed a decree instructing the Federal Forestry Service of Russia, together with the Moscow government, the administration of the Moscow Region and the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Environmental Protection, to develop and approve the regulation on the Losiny Ostrov National Park and ensure control over compliance with the regime of special protection of its territory.

The regulation on the national park, approved on June 30, 2010 by order of the Ministry of Natural Resources, establishes a differentiated protection regime that takes into account the natural, historical, cultural and other features of the zoning of its territory, including:
a specially protected zone, which provides conditions for the conservation and restoration of valuable natural complexes and objects with strictly regulated visits;
educational tourism zone, open for organizing environmental education and familiarization with the sights of the national park;
a recreational area designed to organize the recreation of visitors in natural conditions;
zone of protection of historical and cultural objects - the most valuable (unique) monuments of archeology, history, culture;
an economic zone intended for the implementation of economic activities necessary to ensure the functioning of the national park.

Scheme of functional zoning of the territory
In order to limit the harmful anthropogenic impact of the environment on the flora and fauna of the national park, the Regulations on Losiny Island clearly designated the territory of its buffer zone, within which sources of pollution of the air and water basins must be eliminated and the construction of objects that can damage nature is prohibited.

The boundaries of the buffer zone were determined by a joint decision of the Moscow Regional and Moscow City Councils of People's Deputies and their natural description was included in the Regulations on the National Park of June 30, 2010.


The boundaries of the buffer zone

On February 9, 2011, an agreement was signed on the interaction between the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation and the Government of Moscow to ensure the functioning of the Losiny Ostrov National Park in order to realize the right of Muscovites to a favorable environment and preserve the unique natural complex. The agreement obliged the Ministry of Natural Resources to coordinate with the Government of Moscow the regulation on the regime for the use of lands included in the boundaries of the national park and located in the urban part of the national park, "without withdrawing them from economic exploitation."

On March 26, 2012, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation approved a new Regulation on the Losiny Ostrov National Park. The regulation clarified the functional zoning of the territory of the national park, in which the following were identified:
a protected area, for the preservation of the natural environment in its natural state and within the boundaries, which prohibits the implementation of any economic activity;
a specially protected area in which, while maintaining the natural environment in its natural state, excursions and visits for the purpose of educational tourism are allowed;
a recreational area used for the development of physical culture and sports, placement of objects of the tourism industry, museums and information centers;
zone of protection of objects of cultural heritage (monuments of history and culture) of the peoples of the Russian Federation, in which recreational activities are also allowed;
economic zone.

The section describing the boundaries of the buffer zone of the national park was excluded from the new Regulations, but it was noted that, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, “issues of the socio-economic activities of economic entities, as well as projects for the development of settlements located on the territory of the national park and its buffer zone are coordinated from the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia.

The state importance of the mandatory arrangement of buffer zones of specially protected natural areas is confirmed by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of February 19, 2015, which establishes that the width of the buffer zone of the national park should be at least one kilometer. At the same time, the Rules specifically emphasize that the protected zones of national parks "cannot be located within the boundaries of specially protected natural areas of federal significance." In connection with the ongoing attempts to use the territory of Losiny Ostrov and its buffer zone contrary to the current regulations, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on December 26, 2016 confirmed that “the boundaries of the national park and its buffer zone are determined by appendices 2 and 3 to the decision of 05/04/1979 No. 1190 -543.

In August 2017, the head of the press service of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, in an interview with RIA Novosti, confirmed that “the protected zone does not provide for economic activities that have a negative impact on the national park, including housing construction.”

The boundaries of the protected zone of Losiny Ostrov are indicated on information boards and marked on the ground with special warning signs.

At the end of 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources, in a new draft regulation on buffer zones of specially protected natural areas, proposed to allow not only the possibility of changing and terminating the existence of buffer zones, but also allowing the construction of social facilities and residential buildings in them that do not have a “negative impact on natural complexes”.


Borders and illegal development

On December 14, 2009, the Arbitration Court of the Moscow Region, at the request of the regional prosecutor's office, ruled to demolish the house. The Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow District upheld this decision.

The developed general plan of the urban district of Balashikha, approved by the Council of Deputies and personally by the head of the urban district V. G. Samodelov in December 2005, contained unreliable information about the boundaries of the National Park and partially provided for its development. The boundary of the park indicated on the plan receded from the established boundary in some areas up to 400 meters.

Thus, in violation of the current legislation, the document was not submitted to the Department of Rosprirodnadzor for the Central Federal District and was not approved and was adopted in violation of the Federal Law "On Specially Protected Natural Territories". This law provides that the issues of socio-economic activity of economic entities, as well as development projects for settlements located in the territories of the respective national parks and their protected zones, are coordinated with the federal executive authorities.

“During the construction of a new Shchitnikovo microdistrict in August 2008, the developer Kifo-N Construction Company arbitrarily fenced off a land plot located in the 49th quarter of the Alekseevsky forest park and carried out work on arranging a foundation pit and a trench. As a result, the soil was damaged on an area of 3764 m² and forest crops were destroyed on an area of 1 ha. The damage amounted to over 62 million 792 thousand rubles,” the Prosecutor General’s Office stated.

On the fact of illegal felling of trees with unauthorized seizure of the territory, a criminal case was initiated, which was investigated by the investigative department at the Internal Affairs Directorate for the urban district of Balashikha. However, the criminal case was later closed. Construction work was stopped in 2009, but the already occupied territory was not returned to the national park. As of 2017, it housed two new Balashikha microdistricts. In addition, for their residents, the Moscow authorities were allowed to cut down another 0.3 hectares of forest.


Flora and fauna

The national park is located in the subzone of deciduous-spruce forests of the Valdai-Onega sub-province of the North European taiga province of the Eurasian taiga region. More than 500 species of vascular plants grow in Losiny Ostrov, including 32 tree species and 37 shrub species. Forest-forming tree species are birch (46% of the forested area), pine (22%), spruce (16%), linden (13%), oak (3%). The share of other breeds is insignificant. Widely represented are species of herbaceous plants classified as rare and subject to protection on the territory of Moscow and the Moscow region (common wolfberry, lily of the valley, European bathing suit, peach-leaved bell, nettle-leaved bell, green-flowered lyubka, two-leaved lyubka, real nesting, etc.) Here is the only place in the near Moscow region, where the noble liverwort naturally grows.

The fauna includes more than 280 species of vertebrates, including more than 160 species of birds, 38 species of mammals; 15 species are fish, 10 are amphibians (of which only 6 species were reliably confirmed based on the results of monitoring in 2020 - the common toad, common newt, crested newt, lake frog, grass frog and moor frog, and 2 are reptiles. According to the information of the maintenance service staff and improvement of the national park, at the beginning of 2013, 70 elks, 300 spotted deer, 200 wild boars, 300 hares lived on the territory of Losiny Ostrov, there are also foxes, American minks, raccoon dogs, squirrels, hazel dormouse, beavers, muskrats, bank voles, wood mice, goshawks, white-tailed eagles, ospreys and many other birds).


Red Data Book Species / Rare Species

Birds included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and noted in Losiny Ostrov: Gray Shrike, White-tailed Eagle, Osprey, Titmouse.

Flora: Curly Sparassis, Baltic Dactylorhiza, Dog Mutinus, Coral Blackberry.


Extermination of fauna by stray dogs

Since the beginning of the 21st century, wild fauna has been exterminated by packs of stray dogs living in the park. According to the Izvestia newspaper, packs of 10-15 dogs in the park hunt young boars and deer, repelling them from their parents, destroy ground bird nests, catch squirrels, ermines, ferrets and other animals. According to Boris Samoilov, editor-in-chief of the Red Book of Moscow, stray dogs have almost completely destroyed the spotted deer in the park.

The deputy director of the national park, Vladimir Sobolev, reported in 2009 that there were 5 incidents in the previous winter associated with the death of animals as a result of attacks by dog packs: deer, elk and wild boar were killed.

According to the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, which refers to the employees of the national park, 17 Far Eastern deer were brought to the protected part of Losiny Ostrov in the 1960s. At the beginning of the 21st century, the herd numbered about 200 individuals. However, since 2005, employees began to find gnawed skeletons of deer, which were the victims of attacks by stray dogs. Only in one winter of 2008-2009, as a result of attacks by dogs, 17 deer died, which is about 10% of the herd, the publication claims.

In February 2021, the media reported that 16 killed sika deer with bullet wounds were allegedly found in the Losiny Ostrov park. Representatives of the park said that the deer were victims of stray dogs, experts interviewed by the media adhere to the same version.


Settlements on the territory of Losiny Island

The village of Mosvodokanal, Suponevo, Balashikha (microdistrict Abramtsevo), Novy Svet, Dolgoe Ledovo, Oboldino, Korolev (microdistricts Peat enterprise, Pogonny, 12th switch, Oboldino).