East Baikal

To the east you can find two large parks: Barguzin National Nature Reserve, and Zabaikal’ski National Park. Recently these two protected areas were combined into one, and have been renamed the Podlemorye National Reserve. However, most everyone still refers to them separately, as Barguzin and Zabaikal’ski.

 

Barguzin National Nature Reserve

The Barguzin National Nature Reserve is remote—only accessible by trail or boat. It is, however, the oldest national nature reserve in Russia. It was created in 1916 under tsar Alexander, to protect the dwindling sable populations around Baikal. At the time, they had almost disappeared from the wild—high demand for sable coats at the time promoted the hunting of the animal, nearly causing their extinction. Fortunately for everyone, their numbers have now grown and stabilized.

 

Zabaikalski National Park

View of the Barguzin Range from Zabaikal’ski National Park

The Zabaikal’ski National Park is, unlike the Barguzin Reserve, accessible by road. The Park is largely dominated by the Holy Nose Peninsula – a huge mountain peninsula that juts out into the lake, reaching heights of over 2000ft. Park staff also manage the Ushkanii islands at the center of the Lake, a series of islands known for having a high concentration of Baikal Seals (Nerpa). These islands can be visited ONLY with permission from the Park for a fee of around 2000 roubles (Summer 2018 prices), or approximately 30 dollars.

Nerpas just off the Ushkanii Islands