Treasures of Geography: National Parks

Treasures of Geography: National Parks

The national parks are the treasures of the geographies separated by borders. Humanity agrees that these areas need to be protected with their natural life, archeology, mythology, and history.

Within these boundaries, indeed, there is no concern for the future, nature is as free and untouched as possible. National parks are undoubtedly the most valuable heritages left to the future. Now let’s get to know some of the priceless areas of our country, some of our famous national parks…

DİLEK PENINSULA NATIONAL PARK

It has a wild nature and is only 28 km away from Kuşadası. Between the rivers of Küçük Menderes and Büyük Menderes, within the borders of Güzelçamlı district, Dilek Peninsula National Park is actually a part of 500 million years old Menderes mass. The average bird flight area is 20 km long and 6 km wide. It is divided by many deep canyons and valleys and torn by rivers. Herds of wild horse and wild boar reaching up to the beaches should not come as a surprise. They have grown up in the national park. In the national park, which can be accessed by car, the narrow settlement area of 10 square kilometers is surrounded by a forest cover of approximately 100 square kilometers. This place is not only an unspoilt natural area but also has beautiful beaches along the 30 km coastline. The vegetation does resemble the Aegean, Marmara, Mediterranean, and Black Sea coasts. It is not surprising that wild birds and animal species,  are truly taken under protection thanks to its caves and valleys. The most beautiful time to visit the park is from April to October. It is a treasure throughout the year, especially for trekking enthusiasts. Although many of which are not marked there are 28 separate trails for trekking. For example, Karaoluk Canyon (Sarıkaya Canyon) is marked with signs. Swimming at the blue flag shores of the park is undoubtedly a joy but it doesn’t end there. You can swim in the blue-green cold water of Zeus Cave; you can watch Samos Island at sunset from the 1st Observation Terrace; you can join boat tours departing from Güzelçamlı to see the bays of the park that cannot be reached from the land. You can paraglide from Kaplan Rock, surrounded by the magnificent views of Samos Island, Güzelçamlı, and Kuşadası in the north and Söke Plateau, Bafa Lake and the Great Menderes Delta in the south. Among the bays in the park, it is possible to swim in İçmeler Bay, Aydınlık Bay, Kalamaki Bay, and Karasu Bay. It is possible to rent a pedalo and canoes, angling and snorkeling from both the shore and the boat.

ALADAĞLAR NATIONAL PARK

The peaks of the all-year-round snow-capped Aladağlar are in the plans of many trekking and mountain sports enthusiasts. Aladağlar, which is the largest part of the Taurus Mountains, attracts great attention, especially from foreigners. Aladağlar, which is 65 km away from the center, is the biggest attraction of the city, despite the fact that the center of Niğde is not a touristic place. Aladağlar with deep crossings, frequent valleys, glacial lakes, alpine flowers, butterflies, wolves, wild cats, vultures and the wild goats on the summit, is one of the most important wildlife conservation areas of Turkey. In the Aladağlar, there are also surprises offered by the National Park. The national park includes wild animals such as wild goats, wolves, and bobcat, as well as bird species which will attract bird watchers. The most attractive places of the tours are the Yedigöller Plateau, the Kapuzbaşı Falls and the Emler Summit, which has no climbing difficulties. Aladağlar, also known as Eastern Taurus, takes its name from the crimson color that it takes on at sunset. There are over 20 summits over 3,000 meters. Its highest peak is Demirkazık, which is 3756 m high, the highest peak of the entire Taurus range. You don’t have to be a professional climber to do trekking in Aladağlar. Anyone with good fitness and walking experience can do it. From May to October is suitable for trekking, but in the winter for those who want to try a different style, snow skiing and racket tours are organized. Although ski tours are mostly for professionals, racket tours are ideal for those who want to enjoy the snow by watching nature in a more serene rhythm. With the help of a guide, you follow the footprints of wild animals on the snow, and from time to time listen to the howling of a wolf or the hum of the forest, and proceed in the magnificent nature of Aladağlar. During the tours, accommodation is made in village houses, and coffee is served in the coffeehouses accompanied by the stories of the elderly. Walking in the snow is undoubtedly not an easy task, so on these tours an average of 3-5 hours of walking per day is done.

GÖKÇEADA NATIONAL UNDERWATER PARK

Although the largest island of the Aegean, Gökçeada (İmroz), was given the Cittaslow title in 2011, a title given to towns that adopt and sustain a slow lifestyle, because it can protect its local identity, it is Turkey’s first and only underwater park. Gökçeada is one of the world’s richest islands in terms of water resources, it was declared as a park by Turkey Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) in 1999. This area, which is one nautical mile away from the coast and 200 meters from the sea, is located in the northeast of the island between Kaleköy and Kuzulimanı. The park has two zones: the core zone and the buffer zone surrounding it. Yıldızkoy, which is the most easily accessible point from the land, is the buffer zone. Here you can swim, snorkel, watch the submarine and go fishing. Hunting in other areas is prohibited and you need to get permission to dive. The area where underwater cave entrances are also is an important habitat for many protected marine creatures: Mediterranean monk seal, seagrass beds, triton, crawfish, pina, dolphins, sperm whale, sea turtle. The island that resists dense structuring and irregular settlement is like a marine museum with its unspoilt nature, untouched shores and clear seawater. Gökçeada and the Gulf of Saroz, located on the passageway of species living between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, are breeding and spawning areas for many marine animals. There are also rich fisheries around here. With its balanced nature, there are also endangered marine mammals such as the Mediterranean monk seal around the biologically rich island. 27 km from the center of Gökçeada, Gizli (Secret) Harbor, is one of the island’s most pristine bays, but also at the location that can be considered as the westernmost point of Turkey. Those who want to dive in Gökçeada National Underwater Park should apply through Gökçeada Diving Center.

KOVADA NATIONAL PARK

Camping, hiking, photography, and climbing… Kovada National Park, which has been carrying the title of the national park since the 1970s, 58 km from Isparta and 24 km from Eğirdir, welcomes all kinds of nature activities. It covers an area of 6,534 hectares. Kovada Lake is an extension of Lake Eğirdir. Its width is about 9 km. When the valley was filled with alluvium, it took its present form. It is pleasant to stroll along the coast, observe the diversity of the natural life and wander the scenic spots. The park is home to 28 endemic plants, as well as many birds and other animal species such as wolves, wild boars, weasels, badgers, and snakes. The butterflies seen in the park, especially in spring, are effective for the enthusiasts to visit here. Approximately 70 percent of the area is covered with forests. In addition to larch, red pine, juniper, and oak, there are sycamore trees around the lake and trees such as Taurus fir and Taurus cedar at high altitudes. The amount of fish in Lake Kovada, which is connected to Lake Eğirdir via Aksu stream, is also quite high. It has carp, freshwater bass, freshwater lobster. You can have a picnic in the quiet ambiance of the lake, set up a tent or stay in a caravan. Another alternative in this area is the Yazılı Canyon Nature Park, which spans an area of 600 hectares in Çandır, 30 km away. During the Lydians, Eğirdir was enriched by the Royal Road, which links Ephesus to Babylon and passes through  Çandır nearby. Saint Paul passed through this canyon on the way from Perge to the Antioch of Pisidia. You can walk through the canyon, through the bridges over the waterfalls, and the well-preserved parts of the Royal Road, and then eat trout here in the coolness of the cascading waters. The first 3 km of the canyon is easy to walk. You need a guide and preliminary information to advance for 7km.