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Nemunas Loops Regional Park was established to preserve the unique landscape, natural ecosystem and cultural heritage of Nemunas Loops and the Pinewood of Punia.
Nemunas – the longest river in Lithuania flows through the centre of the park. A 60 km mid-stream section of the winding Nemunas River forms three large loops. The river flows in various directions between high, forested slopes and exposures. Flowing streams formed scenic canyons, pockets and ravines.
The Pinewood of Punia is a forest of special botanical value which preserved the features of primeval forests of Lithuania. It is home to the tallest pines and spruces in Lithuania, oaks lined up in a natural alley and named after the dukes of Lithuania, as well as many protected plant species. The tallest pine in Lithuania reaching up to 42 m has been standing in this pinewood for as many as 160 years. The forest of this nature reserve exists without direct human influence. The Pinewood of Punia is also a home for rare fauna such as black storks, lesser spotted eagles, fat dormice and middle spotted woodpeckers. Its more common fauna includes roe deer, boars, a rather large herd of red deer and many other smaller mammals.
Several approximately 46 m high larches grow in Degsnė larch forest of which the Larch of Degsnė Forest is the highest tree in Lithuania. This park also included the highest, 45 m tall spruce, however it withered away at the end of the 20th century. Several other pines and spruces growing in the Pinewood of Punia are already trying to reach the same height.
Nemunas River islands located beside Prienai is home to a large colony of gulls and terns. The migration of birds can be observed from the banks of Nemunas River.
One of the most beautiful scenic views open up from the observation deck on the bank of Nemunas near Balbieriškis, from the slopes of Nemunas valley and from the mounds of Punia and Birštonas. The exposures of Balbieriškis, Siponiai and Škėvonys are truly impressive.
Based on its biological diversity, Nemunas Loops Regional Park is one of the richest protected areas in Lithuania. This is determined by the remaining large areas of ancient forests, non-straightened streams flowing through the woods, natural slopes of Nemunas valley with numerous ravines, and naturally forming islands of Nemunas River. The Pinewood of Punia, islands of Nemunas River, valley of Drubengis River, swamp of the upper stream of Revuona River, valley of Vizdija River, and mid-section of Ošvenčia River can be distinguished as the most valuable objects of nature. The Pinewood of Punia is one of the most valuable objects both in Lithuania and in the entire Europe.
The area of the park has as many as 20 mounds, the most famous of which are Vytautas Mound in Birštonas and Margiris Mound in Punia. The high Mound of Punia may have once held the famous Pilėnai Castle. Splendid views open up from the mounds of Pošventis, Naravai and Paverkniai. The wooden churches of Prienai and Nemajūnai are also valuable architectural works of folk artists.
Interesting wooden sculpture ensembles were created after the restoration of independence: 8 roofed pillars in Matiešionys, the homeland of linguist J. Kazlauskas, 10 art works in Prienai park, and the Hill of Songs in Birštonas. The memorial trail sculptures of Druskai forest blend in beautifully with nature.
A unique Punia pinewood museum is established in Punia Forestry. Many interesting exhibits can be found in Birštonas and Prienai regional museums and the sacral museum established in Birštonas. An exposition is also installed in the regional park visitor centre.
A paved 10 km long bicycle – pedestrian path is built in the loop of Prienai–Birštonas. A 1.6 km long pedestrian path is also installed, known as Škėvonys nature trail. A bird watching site can be found near the islands of Nemunas River. Those who wish to view the park from above can use the services of Pociūnai Airport. And those who crave for quiet relaxation are welcome at Birštonas sanatoriums. Amateur fishermen will also find plenty of convenient fishing spots.