The return of wilderness

The current look of the Geopark’s landscape was significantly affected by the operation of the Ralsko military training area from 1950 to 1991. Population displacement after the Second World War and the subsequent military use of the territory led to the “desolation” of the landscape below Ralsko and its transformation from agricultural cultural landscape into “new wilderness” – a green island of forests, silence and solitude. Departure of the soldiers was followed by remediation of the devastated parts of the landscape, including removal of ammunition, chemicals and unneeded buildings, but the previous settlement cannot be renewed. Therefore, the Ralsko Geopark is now an extraordinary green island with unique natural values.

HOME TO CARNIVORANS AND BIRDS

A large part of the Geopark is an important bird area because of the unique combination of dry sites on sandstone rocks and a colourful mosaic of wetland biotopes. Notable are especially extensive systems of ponds, which are a testament to craftsmanship and cooperation between people and nature. The “new wilderness” has given shelter to many bird species and wild carnivorans (wolf). The Židlov park, one of the largest game parks in Central Europe, operates a European bison rescue programme

ROMANTIC WILDERNESS

The jagged, yet photogenic, as if forgotten, yet inhabited landscape of the region below Ralsko (called Podralsko) is a source of inspiration for people. The “wilderness” of the sandstone rocks played an important role in the works of Romanticism. One of the greatest poets of “romantic wilderness” was Karel Hynek Mácha.