|Ķemeri National Park, like a fragile jewel, contains natural values which have already become rare in Latvia and Europe – intact high moss marshes, damp black alder forests, floodplain meadows and seaside lakes rich in birds. It is a shelter and place of residence for many rare and protected plant and animal species – glorious and easily observable, and subtle and hardly visible.
A view to Lake Kaņieris with reeds and limy meadows, to Slocene with swamp forests, pine forests and seacoast dunes, the sea and Lapmežciems. Photo by: J.Vītiņš
Ķemeri National Park was established in 1997 with a view to preserve nature and cultural and historical values, and the health resort resources of the territory, as well as to promote nature education. The area of the National Park is 38 165 ha. Ķemeri National Park is a wetland park and its symbol is a white-backed woodpecker – a rare species of woodpeckers for whose survival very humid, deciduous forests untouched by human activity are necessary. Since the establishment of the National Park, several extensive projects for renewal of wetlands have been carried out in its territory. The largest of them - renewal of curves of the River Slampe and raising of the water level in the NE side of Large Ķemeri Moorland.
Wild horses in Dunduri meadows on the banks of the River Slampe. Photo by: A.Liepa
Main Nature Values
Forests. Almost all kinds of forests are encountered in the territory of the National Park and they are characteristic of our latitude. Wet black alder forests in river floodplains are still preserved in large areas here, while in the rest of Latvia and Europe they have been almost fully destroyed in order to use their fertile soils in agriculture.
Marshes. The central part of the National Park is taken up by areas of vast high moss marshes. It is an interesting world without roads and paths – a moss kingdom with small pine trees, long, serpentine lakes and a peculiar kingdom of birds and plants. During the spring and autumn migration thousands of migratory geese and cranes fly down to rest in moss marshes at nights.
Large Ķemeri Moorland. Photo by: A.Liepa
Meadows. Between forest areas and river floodplains you may see meadows where forest animals are grazing - wild cows and horses, while at night you may hear a corncrake. A careful observer may notice orchids hiding in long grass and birds of prey which look for game by slowly circling over meadows.
Lakes. Kaņieris, Sloka and Valgums are the largest lakes in Ķemeri National Park. Looking from the side, the vast and calm waters of the lakes provide the feeling of calmness. However, it is also a landscape full of diverse creatures and continuous activity.
Lake Kaņieris. Photo by: A.Priede
Seacoast. White sand seaside with fragile dune vegetation and dry pine forests are highly characteristic to the ĶNP seacoast.
Sulphur springs. More than 30 sulphur springs run out on the surface in the vicinity of Ķemeri. It is not only a rare natural phenomenon; spring water has also healing qualities. Thanks to sulphur springs, resort traditions have existed more than 160 years in Ķemeri.
Sulphur spring on the bank of Dūņieris. Photo by: A.Priede
Mammals. Wolfs, lynxes, roes, elks, deer, otters, beavers, nine species of bats, martens, ermines, dormice, altogether 47 species of mammals live in Ķemeri National Park. Most of the animals are very attentive and their presence may only be suspected by signs they left behind– eaten off bark and trails.
Birds. Each spring bird songs can be heard from far and near – cooing, whistling and cries like the sounds of a wild ox. Ķemeri National Park is a shelter for many common bird species and diverse natural rarities - black stork, lesser spotted eagle, white-tailed eagle, white-backed woodpecker, little crake. Altogether more than 250 bird species, 67 of them protected, have been observed in the territory of ĶNP.
White-tailed eagle. Photo by: J.Ķuze
Reptiles and amphibians. In the long grass of meadows, undergrowth and among marsh knolls, seven different species of lizards and snakes are living. The rarest of them is a copperhead which is not poisonous. Meanwhile, near the waters 11 different species of amphibians are living – common species of frogs and toads which enliven the vast surroundings with their croaking in spring, and also diverse pleasant nature rarities, for example, the green toad decorated with diverse spots.
Insects and spiders. If you take a closer look on branches of plants and foliage, you will definitely notice some of the approximately 3300 species of insects living in the Park – whether it be a large beetle or glorious butterfly or dragonfly. Or maybe you will be caught in the web of some of the 58 species of spiders living in the National Park?
A butterfly on crane's bill. Photo by: V. Vintulis
Vegetation. While going through meadows and forests, pay attention also to different plant species. Part of them are large, glorious, noticeable or simply strange, and, seeing them, you will not doubt for a moment that you have met with a natural rarity, for example, a species of wild orchid, shingled gladiolus or a large broomrape. 86 plant species of the more than 900 plant species encountered in ĶNP are protected. However, flora delights us not only with different rarities, but also with simple things such as meadows full of flowers, grass marshes, grand oaks, as well as finny lichen and moss which form miniature art works on shadowy stems of trees.
Dianthus arenarius. Photo by: A.Priede
In Ķemeri National Park you may:
- Go for walks along nature paths and roads and paths present in the territory of the park. Walk dogs on leashes.
- Ride a bicycle along specially marked routes and roads present in the park. You are asked not to drive along wood construction of footbridges because it is damaging to footbridges and may be dangerous.
- Observe birds. The best time for observing of birds is spring, the beginning of summer, early morning or late afternoon, as well as autumn, when the bird migration is easily noticeable. The best places are the park of Ķemeri sanatorium, the Lakes Kaņieris and Sloka, the meadows of Dunduri.
- Observe animals. The best place for observing large herbivorous animals – wild cows and horses – is the meadows of Dunduri. And during twilight hours you may see beavers in places indicated on a map by moving silently.
- It is allowed to fish in all waters of Ķemeri National Park, observing legislation in force. In order to fish in Lake Kaņieris it is necessary to obtain licences.
- Go boating - with your own boat you may stay in all public waters, but in Lakes Kaņieris and Valgums only with rented boats.
- Pick berries and mushrooms in the entire territory of the park, except the area of the nature reserve which is marked red in the map.
You may get more information on certain activities in the section WHAT TO DO? dedicated to tourism in Ķemeri National Park.
Development of this homepage was part financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)