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The Katon–Karagai state national nature park

27 March 2009

According to the Decree of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the natural national park was created on Southern Altai in 2001 on the territory of Katon-Karagayskiy administrative region. The majority of its territory is in the zone of alpine relief. It area is more than 600 thousand hectare, and it has wide amplitude of height overfalls: from 850 in the valley of Bukhtarma till the top of Belukha mountain – 4506 m. Its highest points are concentrated in the eastern part – on Katunskiy and Southern-Altaiskiy mountain ranges.

Park borders cover the mountain plateau Ukok – in the boundary part with Russia (2300m), including also the basins of White and Black Berel, the slopes of Listvyaga mountain range, Belukha mountain range within the Republic and eastern part of Southern Altai mountain range and Tarbagatay and Sarym – Sakty mountain ranges.

Rakhmanovskoye lake is not comparable with other lakes upon beauty and treatment significance.

The lake is running, and located at the height of 1760 m: its length is more two kilometers and its width is more than a half-kilometer. Its depth reaches 30 m, its transparency – 6 m. The water is fresh, soft, and blue. Medicinal features of water do not yield to best resorts – Belokurikha in Russia, on Altai and Tskhaltubo on the Caucasus.

It is remarkable that Ukok plateau is huge mountain valley, located at the height of more than 2300 – 25—m. A chain of covered with eternal snow and ice tops passes to the south from mountain tableland Ukok, where Bukhtarma river springs from.

There are snow and ice on Alps. In this chain the main of Kazakhstan Altai – Southern Altai mountain range dominates. It passes to the west from mountain unit Tabyn – Bogdo – Ola, watershed between basins of the rivers of Northern Ice and Indian Ocean. It is a chain of branchy mountain system of Altai, which reaches maximum heights – from 3500 and up to 3790 m. The axis of mountain range passes to the south from Bukhtarma valley that was the motive for its name – Southern Altai. Here is the center of modern freezing, where 139 glaciers are accounted of total area of more than 80 sq. km; the largest of them are in the region of Belukha mountain.

Snow trains come down from rocky tops of mountain ranges, upon stony ravines. The under-pond lakes are usual here. Hump-bearing scoters nest on them, trusting in complete unavailability of people – the birds from Red book.

Altai ular and tundra partridge live in placers and tundras.
Below, from 2000 to 2400 m, between alpine meadows and forest zone the belt of splendid sub-alpine meadows lasts. Grasses are giant: over a human’s height.

For taiga forests more than fifty species of mammals are typical. They are: elk, maral, roe, mountain goat – tek, musk-deer, wild boar, brown bear and furry animals – fox, sable, true otter, mink, Siberian weasel, glutton, lynx, squirrel, hare… In some places among birds the capercailye, hazel grouse, black grouse are usual.

The northern chain, passing from Southern Altai mountain range, is represented by Tarbagatay mountain range, having maximum heights, reaching 2600 m above sea level. Another mountain range – Sarym-Sakty – comes from it continuing to the west, with maximum heights of up to 3400 m. Mountain ranges are strictly divided by deep slot, upon which Pronikha river flows. Here more often than anywhere else the ounces are observed.

The main aim of creating Southern-Altai national park is the preservation of biodiversity of plants and fauna; preservation of objects representing value both of natural and cultural heritage. Parks play big role in the development of ecological tourism and rest. In this connection, special zones are separated in parks of absolute calm with reserved regime of protection, zones, where traditional economic activity of population is not permitted, and zones of so called ordered regime, including tourism and their use of as bolnealognic objects.

Editor: Dmitriy Volkov
Artem Golovin and Evelina Ogol (www.ukok-tour.ru)