Vladimir Vasilyevich Sidorenko, 1986
Cornelius Ottovich Megalinsky, 1986
Khokhlova, Korshunova, Galkevich, Bakka, 1986
Warning sign of the Kerzhensky Nature Reserve, 1993
The building of a packing shop in the town of Rustai (the Environmental Centre of the reserve currently)
Capture of beavers in the Kerzhensky sanctuary
Expedition members’ crossing, 1940
Preparation for the molar alloy of the forest at the Kerzhenets area
The town of Rustai, 1950s
Narrow-gauge railway, 1970s
The Environmental Centre, trestle
Intensive development of the Kerzhensky forests began in the late 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, Nizhny Novgorod scientists began to express ideas about the need to take urgent measures to protect the region’s nature.
In November 1940, a scientific expedition led by professor of Moscow State University Turov and assistant professor Protopopov was sent to the Kerzhensky forests. They found out that the intact natural complexes are still preserved here, although the war delayed the creation of the reserve for many years.
After the depletion of the forest resource base and the catastrophic fires of 1972, the Kerzhensky forests lost their economic attractiveness. This made it possible to begin work on the creation of the reserve again. On April 23, 1993, a decree on the establishment of a reserve in the territory of the Borsky and Semenovsky districts was issued.
The status of the specially protected natural territory of the Kerzhensky State Nature Reserve was established by Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 360 of April 23, 1993.
This happened 52 years after the decision of the Gorky Regional Executive Committee No. 697 “On the establishment of the Kerzhensky State Nature Reserve” was made on May 7, 1941. The road to establishing the reserve was long and demanded the efforts of many people in different periods of time.
Mazarmovich wrote about the need for territorial protection in 1912 in a scientific article “Cavities and caves of the southern part of the Nizhny Novgorod government”: “Such creatures of nature should be removed from the barbarous hands of private owners, transferred to the possession of the state ... and declared national property”.
In the report of professors Porkhunov and Pokrovsky published in 1926, “On the Protection of Nature Monuments in the Nizhny Novgorod government”, the main issues of the wildlife conservation problem in our region were formulated and the need to establish nature reserves and sanitories was justified. In the note of the editor it was noted that by the time of publication of this work, the Gubiz Executive Committee had already approved the environmental committee under Gubplan.
In 1936, a game reserve was created in the middle reaches of the Kerzhenets River. In July 1940, a letter came to the Gorky hunting inspectorate from the Main Directorate for Nature Reserves under the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR with a request to inform about the expediency of establishing around the Kerzhenets River specialized desman reserve. In response to the General Directorate, comrade Vvedensky wrote: “This question has interested us since 1926, and, for our part, there have been repeated attempts to establish a reserve in the floodplain of the Kerzhenets River, the question of which was raised for Moscow but to no avail... My deep conviction is that the reserve establishment on the Kerzhenets is also necessary because in the very near future, August 10-12, 20 beavers will be released into the reservoirs in this territory, whose stay forces us to pay serious attention to their preservation”.
On September 3, 1940, by the General Directorate for Nature Reserves under the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR a professor at Gorky University Ivan Puzanov was appointed head of the expedition to select a territory for the reserve establishment. From 2 to 18 November, the survey was conducted by a professor at Moscow State University Turov and assistant professor Protopopov.
...The results of the expeditionary works were discussed at the University of Gorky with the participation of professors Puzanov, Stankov, Porkhunov, who spoke in favor of establishing the reserve. Reports on the work performed were submitted to the Office for the Protection of Forests, “Soyuzzagotzhivyrye”, and other interested organizations. A project for the reserve establishment was prepared, and on May 7, 1941, the Gorky Regional Executive Committee issued decision No. 697 “On the establishment of the Kerzhensky State Nature Reserve”, according to which the area of the reserve will be 80 thousand hectares in order to protect forests, to preserve and to breed natural fur-bearing animals (river beaver, otter, desman, marten) and ungulates (elk and deer) in natural conditions.
...The outbreak of the Great Patriotic War postponed the implementation of this decision. Although in 1944 a new project for the reserve establishment was prepared by a decision of the Regional Executive Committee, it did not work.
...In 1946, the General Directorate of Reserves was in charge of creating a reserve in the Gorky Region. It sent a senior researcher Reshetnik to Gorky. Reshetnik studied in some detail the state of affairs at that time and traveled directly to the territory of the proposed reserve.
... On November 4, 1946, Comrade Shvedchikov, Head of the Main Directorate of Preserves under the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR, received a response from the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Gorky Regional Council Zhiltsov, where it was reported that “...the project for the reserve establishment in the middle reaches of the Kerzhenets River significantly violates the interests of a number of logging and peat-mining enterprises that have forest resources and peat deposits secured in long-term use the Kerzhensky forest area, for the development of which substantial funds have been invested... The Regional Executive Committee considers it is not expedient at present to establish a reserve in the projected boundaries.”
...In the postwar years, intensive logging was carried out in the Nizhny Novgorod region, as a result of which up to 90% of the mature plantations were destroyed. Strong fires in 1972, which covered up to 20% of forest areas, adversely affected the flora and fauna of the region.
...In the early 1980s, the idea of creating a reserve began to be discussed again.
...The project preparation work was carried out on a voluntary basis, due to the enthusiasm of a small team, with the use of materials of the «Forest Project» and support from the regional society of nature protection headed by Klyuyev. Nizhny Novgorod scientists Khokhlova, Lukin, Smirnov, Bakanin, forestry specialists Shishov, Markova, Kazakov, Korneev, game managers Shiyan and Paramonov, land surveyor Kandrashov, and many others contributed to the reserve establishment. The experience and knowledge of the director of the Pechora-Ilychsky Nature Reserve, Megalinsky, who was appointed project supervisor by Glavokhota RSFSR, was used in drawing up the project and conducting the preparatory work.
...However, even after drawing up the project for the reserve establishment, the process of preparing and harmonizing the necessary documents continued for several years, mainly due to the opposition of loggers. The former association «Gorkles» did not want to part with the remnants of ripe forest within the boundaries of the planned reserve in the amount of about 5 thousand cubic meters of annual logging area. This issue was resolved positively by the head of the forestry department, Shishov.
... During the reserve establishment in the town of Rustai there was a meeting of local residents with the participation of district and regional representatives of the authorities, environmental organizations, scientists, and authors of the reserve project. At the meeting, despite the attempts of some summer residents to turn the residents of Rustai town against the reserve establishment, an agreement was reached, and the consent of local residents was obtained, the majority voted for the opening of the reserve, and 4 people voted against it. The establishment of the Kerzhensky Nature Reserve provided for the allocation of a zone for limited economic activities for the needs of the local residents of the town of Rustai, such as haymaking, grazing, collection of mushrooms and berries.
... On February 11, 1993, a resolution of the Nizhny Novgorod Region Administration signed by Governor Nemtsov “On the establishment of the Kerzhensky State Nature Reserve” was issued. It served as the ground for the corresponding resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 360 dated April 23, 1993 and for the order of the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of the Russian Federation No. 89 dated May 7, 1993, on the establishment of the reserve in the territory of the Borsky and Semyonovsky districts for the purpose of preservation of ecosystems of the trans-Volga region.
...Problems arose with the establishment of the protected zone. Complaints of residents and summer residents of Rustai town, which rushed to the regional administration after the establishment of the reserve, alerted the management of neighboring districts, and the planned ban on logging in the protected area caused active counteractions of the Forestry Department and directors of forestry enterprises.
...Due to the fact that the validity of the previous agreements with the district administrations has expired, the administration of the reserve in cooperation with the Department of Nature Preservation and Management of the Nizhny Novgorod Region and the Biodiversity Laboratory of the ecological centre Dronte made an attempt to reconcile the project of the protected zone. The Borsky and Semyonovsky District authorities protested against the establishment of the protected zone on their territory, and Lyskovsky District was ready to coordinate only a kilometer-long strip along the southern border. Only in the Voskresensky district in accordance with the order of the administration of the Nizhny Novgorod region № 324-r dated 20.03.95 was the protected zone of the reserve with the area of 10738 hectares, located on the lands of the Voskresensky leskhoz. The Regulation on the protected zone of the Kerzhensky State Nature Reserve is approved by the order of the Administration of the Nizhny Novgorod region № 544-r from 05.05.95.