Onega Peninsula gets national park status

Onega Peninsula has unique White Sea coastal landscape. Photo: WWF Arkhangelsk

Unique White Sea coastal biodiversity protected in what the Russian government says is a milestone in environmental protection.


“Onega Pomorania” is newest national park in the Barents Region and is over 200,000 hectares. It is located on the southwestern coast of the White Sea in the Arkhangelsk region. The national park decree was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev this week.

“We hope that the creation of the park will enhance the development of tourism in the Onega district and attract investment in the region,” says Arkhangelsk governor Igor Orlov interviewed by Rossiskaya Gazeta. The park is the second in the Arkhangelsk region and the 45th in Russia.

WWF in Arkhangelsk has actively been lobbying for giving Onega Peninsula statues as national park.

“The need for a national park was generated by the massive destruction of Onega Peninsula’s unique natural ecosystems by industrial logging. Local people used forests for centuries, but did so carefully, without environmental damage. But over the last few decades of industrial development, 60% of the area was logged. A national park will save from degradation the ecosystems which haven’t been reached by harvesters yet,”  says Andrey Shchegolev, head of WWF-Russia’s Arkhangelsk office.

Onega Peninsula is unique in its exceptional landscape biodiversity and preserved indigenous boreal forest with rich flora, fauna and many rare species. The area plays an important role in regional climate regulation. Its high environmental value is combined with a distinctive way of life for coast-dwellers. Local people believe environmental and historical tourism development is the only way to sustain their traditions into the future.