This past winter I met a Pole guy, who traveled across the whole Russia many, many, many… I think, too many times. He said, “Forget about active volcanoes in Kamchatka. The best place in the peninsula is Kronotsky Nature Reserve. This is a must!”
So, why Kronotsky Nature Reserve?
“You can see a LOT of brown bears‘ walking around Kronotsky Lake or fishing in it. It is the place, where it is possible to enjoy in one spot… Kamchatka’s wildlife, geysers, mountains and volcanoes,” his argument was.
Kronotsky Nature Reserve (also: Kronotsky Biosphere Zapovednik) is a nature area reserved for the study of natural sciences in the remote Russian Far East, on the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was created in 1934 and its current boundary contains an area of 10,990 km² (4,243 square miles).
It also has Russia’s only geyser basin, plus several mountain ranges with numerous volcanoes, both active and extinct, including Eurasia’s highest active volcano Klyuchevskaya Sopka (Kliuchevskoi Sopka), which rises to a peak height of 4,750 m (15,584 feet). Due to its often harsh climate and its mix of volcanoes and geysers, it is frequently described as the Land of Fire and Ice.
It is mainly accessible only to scientists, plus approximately 3,000 tourists annually who pay a fee equivalent to US$700 to travel by helicopter for a single day’s visit. Kronotsky Nature Reserve has been proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The nature reserve boasts over 700 brown bears, some of the largest in the world that can grow to over 540 kg (1,200 pounds). Bears in the Kronotsky reserve often encounter each other at salmon streams in the park where they can socialize freely with each other.
Meanwhile, enjoy Igor Shpilenok‘s recent photographs of Kronotsky Nature Reserve with its amazing inhabitants.
Igor Shpilenok (his blog) is a pro photographer and naturalist.
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