Matsalu National Park 20


Nele Sõber

Today Matsalu National Park celebrates it's 20th birthday. On May 10, 2004, Matsalu Nature Reserve was given the status of a national park.

The predecessor of the national park, Matsalu Nature Reserve, was established in 1957 to protect birds and their nesting, moulting and stopover sites.

Besides birds, Matsalu National Park aims to protect landscapes characteristic of Western Estonia and the cultural heritage of the Väinameri Sea region. Matsalu National Park is characterized by open coastal areas, where man and nature have lived in balance hand in hand for centuries.

Matsalu has the largest floodplain in Northern Europe, the most extensive coastal meadows in Europe, the largest reed massif in Estonia and the alvar trees typical of Western Estonia.

Matsalu National Park has been awarded with European Diploma of Protected Areas by the Council of Europe in recognition of its efforts to protect biological, geological and landscape diversity in the area and in 2015 with European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas, which is issued by EUROPARC Federation.

Matsalu National Park is part of HELCOM's Väinamere marine protected area. Matsalu National Park belongs to the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance.

Matsalu rannaniit Ave Huugeni foto

Matsalu coastal meadow. Photo: Ave Huugen