Losiny Ostrov National Park
The Losiny Ostrov National Park was not only the very first national park to be established in Russia, but it is also has the biggest forests in close proximity to a city in the country. Situated in Moscow, the Losiny Ostrov National Park became a national project in 1983. Previously much of this land once served as the hunting grounds of tsars and grand princes. Today it is open to the public. The area was first reserved in 1799 and 1842 saw the appointment of the first forest management team. The earliest request to make the area a national park dates back to 1909.
Russian Princes, such as Dmitri Donskoi, Ivan Kalita and Vladimir of Serpukhov, made reference to Losiny Ostrov in historical documents from the fourteenth century. According to the Princes and their descendants, Losiny Ostrov was an area that was comprised of forests and ploughed land. Sometime later the land became the favorite hunting ground of the tsars and so it soon come under protection since it was to be used exclusively by the tsars. The economic difficulties experienced during the "Time of Trouble" saw the plowed lands being overgrown by magical forests. Losiny Ostrov lost it favor amongst the tsars when the Russian capital was moved to St Petersburg, yet it remained under Imperial control. Control of the area was handed to the forest department in 1798 and Losiny Ostrov was included the greenbelt of Moscow in 1934.
Unfortunately the park's forests suffered great losses during the Second World War. Shortly after this time the land further submitted to illegal cuttings, vegetable gardens and even cow pasturing. The park was saved in 1983 when Moscow’s urban and provincial Soviets of Peoples Deputies named Losiny Ostrov a natural park since this led to the establishment of the Losiny Ostrov National Park.
Today the park covers a total of 116.215 square kilometers of which 30.77 square kilometers fall with in the city of Moscow. Losiny Ostrov National Park has been divided into three parts to conserve and protect the area more easily. The first section has put aside 29.81 square kilometers for recreational use. The second has an area of 31.30 square kilometers that is used for training and is only open for restricted visits and the third measures 53.94 square kilometers which is protected and completely closed.