Visiting Russian Arctic National Park is a journey to the eightieth parallel. National Park “Russian Arctic” was created on June 15, 2009 by the Federal Government. The territory of the national park is located on the northern part of Novaya Zemlya (New Earth) archipelago. The total area of the national park – 1.426 million hectares. To preserve the natural systems and the most valuable objects of the National Park “Russian Arctic” and “Franz Josef”, the state natural reserve of federal importance, in December 2010 was created the National Park “Russian Arctic.”
For two weeks in July, a comprehensive scientific expedition of the National Park “Russian Arctic” and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Russia), composed of sixty people took the research vessel “Professor Molchanov” for more than four thousand nautical miles, rose above the eightieth parallel, and made a landing in the national park and the federal reserve “Franz Josef Land.”
The main purpose of the expedition was to collect information about the state of ecosystems and the cultural and historical heritage in the Orange Islands and the Cape of Desire.
Novaya Zemlya (New Earth) has been known since ancient times.
Already in the XI-XII centuries, the islands were known as Russian. They attracted with a rich opportunity to fish here, animal skins, ivory, poultry and eiderdown. The Pomor people went on small vessels year by year, which explains the formation of entire dynasties of seafarers. The work of our ancestors can hardly be called simple – sometimes due to weather conditions, ice conditions or loss of the ship, they had to spend the winter in the New Earth.
From European explorers first visited the island was H. Willoughby, who came out in 1553 from England, reached the southern end of Novaya Zemlya. However, the ship did not return home – the entire crew has been found dead.
Famous Dutchman Willem Barents in 1596 rounded the northern tip of Novaya Zemlya and spent winter on the east coast, then died trying to return home. The first Russian explorer of Novaya Zemlya is considered to be navigator Fyodor Rozmyslov. In 1768-1769 he headed the expedition, made a map of Matochkin Strait, as well as descriptions of nature in the New Earth: flora and fauna, mountains and water.
Carl Weyprecht (1838—1881).
In 1873 the archipelago was officially opened by an Austrian expedition under Julius Payer and Carl Weyprecht, on the ship “Admiral Tegetgof”, it was attempted to pass from the Barents Sea to the Bering Sea
To explore the northern part of the archipelago began seriously to explore in the early 20th century. In 1910, on the North Island in the Cross Bay was organized Olginsky settlement, which became at that time the most northern parts of the Russian Empire.
The first documented circumnavigation of Novaya Zemlya was made in 1910 by Vladimir Rusanov, he was the first to walk across the island. A bay on the peninsula and archipelago was named after him.
In 1913 – 1914 on the Franz Josef Land wintered the expedition of Georgy Sedov. In an attempt to reach the North Pole the explorer died, he was buried on the island of Rudolph.
XX century was marked by a comprehensive human intervention in the Arctic. In the mid- 50s on Novaya Zemlya nuclear testing were held, and in 1961 has been tested most destructive in human history bomb – a thermonuclear charge with capacity of 58 megatons.
Nowadays, thanks to the joint efforts of environmentalists and government was made a significant step towards the northern nature: on the northern tip of the North Island in 2009, was organized the national park “Russian Arctic”