Elk Poviat is a fascinating and still unknown Masurian nook where woods, lakes hills and moraine valleys join creating unforgettable views.
Presence of numerous lakes and woods together with interesting post-glacial lay of the land, unique environment and clean air make this area ideal for fans of water sports, hiking and cycling trips, mushroom pickers and anglers – one can catch here eel, pike-perch, pike, tench, carp bream and perch.
Poviat is situated on le lands used to inhabited by the tribes of Yotvingians. This nation, either exterminated or displaced by Teutonic Knights, disappeared at the end of XII century. What remained are grads, kurgans, notices in antique chronicles and many topographical names.
Aura of secretiveness which embraces the history of Yotvingians living on this area tempts to look for material remains, one of which is erratic tone in Stare Juchy.
When in the neighborhood one cannot miss Polish-Lithuania-Prusia border stone from 1545 in Bogusze near Prostki. It is one of the oldest monument of this kind in Poland. In Ostrykół it is worth seeing a beautiful wooden church dating from 1667; especially interesting are XVIII century organs. What reflects Masurian historical and cultural spirit are manor-park complexes, wooden Masurian huts, pens, and roadside shrines which are beautifully fit to rural landscape. A slow trip by Ełk narrow-gauge railway also gives unforgettable sensations.
Diversity of Elk tourist offer will satisfy even the most demanding voyagers and, at the same time, will give them the opportunity of getting to know the unique climate of Masurian village, its culture, customs and traditional cuisine.
Lay of the land
Elk Poviat covers the area od Elk Lake district and part of Masuria Garbate. Its landscape is typical for terminal moraine. Its northern and eastern parts are strongly undulating, with high hills and valleys, and moraine dales filled with lakes. The middle part is less and less undulating, slowly turning into valleys and further into plains. The relief is perfect for development of cycling, ski run or Nordic walking, what contributes to creating new routes used not only by tourists but also by the inhabitants of the Poviat.
Woods, lakes and rivers
Elk Poviat’s woods are mostly the remains of the old Yotvingians Forest. Its fragments are Borecka Forest on the north, Augustowska Forest and Elk woods on the east. In the Poviat’s woods mostly grow coniferous trees especially pine and spruce. Moreover in the tree stand there are limes, oaks, birch and alder.
Although forests cover 23% of the Poviat, it is lakes which are the most characteristic feature of Elk’s landscape. Situated among numerous moraine hills, lakes fill wide valleys and hollows and this way they create excellent conditions for water tourism and beautiful landscapes. On the biggest reservoirs – Łaśmiady lake, Selmęt Wielki Lake – it is possible to sail due to mostly eastern winds.
Most of the lakes is connected by rivers and streams what makes kayaking easier. Sandy beaches, numerous islands being home for birds, and diverse shoreline make views from the surface of lakes and rivers more interesting. For those who prefer more quiet places we suggest little lakes beautifully localized among woods – kind of oasis of quiet which are dreamed place for rest from the noise of cities.
Two biggest rivers flowing through Poviat Elk are river Elk – also called Łaźna Struga – and river Lega which further changes its name into Małkiń. Both rivers are known kayaking water roads which lead to Biebrza, and so are the direct water connection with Biebrzański National Park. Those who are devoted to kayaking we invite to “flow into” the route “Ełk’s turn for kayainkg – from Masuria to Biebrze”, which leads through the most beautiful areas of Ełk country.
Flora and fauna
The area of Ełk Lake District is a home for many rare species of plants and animals, including insects, reptiles and birds. If one wants to seek for Reindeer lichen, pool frog, multi-color butterflies and dragonflies it is worth taking kayaking or cycling route. To make tourist life easier in every place where rare species of fauna or flora occur special tablets with information allowing tourist recognize the wonders of nature around him.
The only nature reservation on the area of the Poviat – “Ostoja Bobrów Bartosze” (Beavers’ Shelter Bartosze) near Bartosze – is surrounded from three sides with lakes. There are over 270 species of plants and interesting examples of local fauna. The reservation covers watered areas of low peat bog overgrown by birch with rich undergrowth composed of willow, black dog wood and spruce. The bog is inhabited by beavers. The area of the reservation can be observed from a path going along north-east border of the reservation. There is also a cycling-walking route going through the reservation. What is more there are three areas of protected landscape: Ełk Lake District, Jeziora Rajgrodzkie (Rajgrodzkie Lakes) and Wzgórz Dybowskie (Dybowskie Hills), and numerous nature monuments.
Monuments and other attractions of Poviat Elk.
The Poviat Ełk consists of town Ełk and four communes: Ełk, Kalinowo, Prostki and Stare Juchy. In each of these places there are many interesting attractions for tourists and so it is worth staying here a little longer.