Olsztyn’s Town Forest is Europe's largest forest complex located within the city boarders. Formerly a source of raw material for the construction of houses, today is one of the favorite places of active recreation for residents of Olsztyn, and gives shelter to numerous species of plants and animals.
The forest is located in the northern part of Olsztyn. It has a total area of over 1,400ha, of which the main complex - about 1,100ha. The generous size and diversity of the area, in terms of nature and landscape, are a huge potential of tourism and recreation.
For lovers of tourism, recreation and sport
Łyna and Wadąg rivers, which flow through Town Forest, are popular kayak routes. The area of the forest is cut through by four walking trails which are marked: Copernicus red, black, yellow, and blue. There is also a system of cycling routes of varying difficulty and in addition to this “Gorge” Bikepark (Bikepark “Wąwóz”) was set up. Complementing this infrastructure are jogging routes, luge tracks and educational nature paths. Moreover, a shooting range and two rope parks operate in Town Forest. A memorial of the former sporting glory are the remains of the Forest Stadium, where the world records in the shot put (before World War II) and triple jump (1960) were established. Across the vast forest areas numerous benches and gazebos were placed so one can take a break during a journey or while doing sports.
The richness of the nature
In Town Forest there is a mixed stand, which is dominated by pine trees (about 80%). Some of the specimens are more than 140 years old. In addition, numerously represented are the following: oak, beech, maple, birch and spruce. Apart from the common species of plants, there are many rare and protected. The most valuable natural areas - the current reserves “Mszar” and “Redykajny” – were already protected at the beginning of the 20th century. They both contain vegetation characteristic for bogs and they are also the habitat of rare species of amphibians, such as tree frog.
The Town Forest is rich not only in amphibians, but reptiles and birds as well. One can come across larger mammals such as wild boars, roe-deers, deers, foxes, martens, raccoons, or elks. And signs of the existence of beavers can be seen along Łyna and Wadąg rivers.
History written by forest
The archaeological site located in Town Forest proves its interesting history. These areas became owned by Olsztyn in 1353 when the city gained its rights. The second large forest complex, obtained by the city in 1378, was named Winduga (south of Olsztyn, currently outside its borders).
Originally the main function of these forests was to supply wood to the city and the surrounding area. It was not until the early 20th century, that Town Forest became the recreational area. The place called “Spa House” (“Dom Zdrojowy”) was created together with a park with a restaurant, stadium and a shooting range. Then, in 1907 the building became a tuberculosis sanatorium (now a pulmonological hospital). Since 2013, the forest has been managed by the city budget unit of Road, Green and Transport Board.