I have known this place for many years. Poiana Stampei Marsh is an atypical natural reserve for Romania, with a specific vegetation of swamp. I wanted to visit it in 2013 when I crossed Tihuta Pass. But there was no way I could find it. No signs, no man on the street. Then I found out that it was not maintained anyway, and that I could not see the forest without sinking into mud through the rotten bridge.
This year I went back here and I had the inspiration to look up on the internet to see some updates about this reserve, basically to see if I can visit it. And, surprise! I found that the wooden bridge was rebuilt!
Let’s look for it!
A big banner now announces the presence of the Tinovul Mare – Poiana StampeiNature Reserve. But the entrance is no longer through the yard where the banner is (as it was originally). We went there and we were guided correctly. As you come from Bistrița to Vatra Dornei, on the right side, right after the banner, there is a small parking on the side of the road. Down, you will notice a wooden gate, but also a small indicator (not visible from the car) with “Tinovul/ Visit”. Pull the door lock and walk through the glade, following the path that is barely visible. But you will see the bridge that crosses the river in the valley. You have two obstacles on the way: two electric fences (I think they protect the sheep from the bears) with handles in order to be lifted slightly. It doesn’t have 220V (tested by children who were with us). It pinches harder, but it’s safe.
The miracle of nature
Tinovul Mare – Poiana Stampei is the largest marshland in Romania. (There is also a beautiful one, Tinovul Mohoş, near St. Ana Lake, it is much smaller, but it has several mini-carnivorous plants than Tinovul Mare). The 900-meter long wood bridge lets you see the thick layer of musk that abounds in brown water – color given by the peat. From place to place, you will also see small water meshes. The forest is formed almost exclusively from pine trees, which resist the acidic soil. On the bridge you will also find some small hangouts, one with an informative panel in which you will see the difference between the forest pine and the pine here in a wooden section. The pines in the marshland develop very slowly, so even if the tree is 100 years old, the trunk diameter will be only 12 to 15 cm. It seemed very interesting to me!
Beyond the species of musk and hydrophilic plants, some rare, there is also the carnivorous plant species (Drosera rotundifolia). But without a guide and without leaving the wooden bridge (for reasons of safety and … anti-dirt), it’s hard to see it. Here are some orchid species, ferns and the kingdom of cranberries and blueberries! For the passionate, we also have a quaternary relict plant (peat moss of the species Saphagnum wulfianum) and an endemic species (Batrachospermum dornense).
Then you have to admire colorful butterflies, dragonflies, tritons and lizards and over 20 bird species.
Tinovul Mare – Poiana Stampei was declared a botanical reservation by the Council of Ministers Decision 1625 of 1955 (no, it is not a mistake, 1955!), Then it was included in Law 5 of 2000. From 2007 is Natura 2000 Site. Starting with 25 October 2011, it is a wetland of international importance. In 2012, it was designated Ramsar site. It has 900 to 1024 m altitude and an area of 682 ha. The second entry in the reservation is in Dornişoara.
Photo credits for featured image: my incredible Ina Alice.