+7 (831) 431-30-56
About the reserve
- History of the reserve
- Territory development

Territory development

  • Sckrebki, the Black Earth region, 1956

  • A family of the Meadow Mari, early 20th century

  • Steckolny settlement

  • Sazonikha settlement, Lesokhim street

  • Sazonikha settlement, Lesokhim street

  • Locomotive Petushok, 1954, photo by Vyazov

  • Sazonikha settlement after the fire, 1972

  • Logging overpass in Rustai town

  • Club in Sazoniha

  • Water tower in Sazoniha

  • Mari forest bee-keeping apiary, Timofeev, the Mari artist

  • Fisherman with a pike

  • Hunters at the halt

  • Hunter with his prey

  • Hunter with greyhounds, the Nizhny Novgorod government, 1870s

  • Near the mouth of the Pugay River (the Kerzhenets tributary)

  • Illegal bear hunting

  • Mari arrows

  • Forest bee-keepers on the Kerzhenets, 1897

  • A narrow gauge whisker, 1955

  • The pine tree with the resin boxing marks

  • Forest workers

  • Spoon production in Dejanovo village, Semenov district, 1897

  • Funeral feast of the Mari (Cheremis), 1900

  • Rustai forest preparation for rafting, 1968

  • Construction of a dugout for the employees of the chemical forestry enterprise

  • ZIL 157 car burnt down in Sazonikha during fires, 1972

  • The bank of the Kerzhenets River, 1960

  • Logging crew

  • Dumping the woods after the fire, 1972

  • Snow saucer, 1950

  • INFORMATION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF THE KERZHENSKY FORESTS

    The first settlements appeared in the middle reaches of the Kerzhenets in the Neolithic Age, in the IV-II millennia B.C.

    This period is believed by many researches to include the exploitation of the trans-Volga region forests and settlement of Finno-Ugric tribes in trans-Volga region, who left the main toponymic layer in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The cult of plants was widespread among all Finno-Ugric peoples, for example, there were sacred groves and revered trees. Bear, moose and squirrel were revered among wild animals.

    The lands rich in forests and waters were successfully developed by forest bee-keepers, hunters and ploughmen from the Old Slavic tribes of Vyatichi and Krivichi.

    Resettlement of Russian had at first character of escape from the Tatar-Mongolian conquerors, and in 16th century peasants were rescued in the Kerzhensky forests from servility for failing to pay a growing levy and tax. In the middle of the 17th century, during the reform of Patriarch Nikon, the dense forests of the Kerzhenets were a shelter for the Old Believers, who hid in them from persecution.

    At the end of the 19th century, intensive development of the Kerzhensky forests began. By the mid-twentieth century, the extent of logging in the territory have become enormous. There were dozens of overpasses, transport stops, more than 20 settlements and cordons, many of which were destroyed by a forest fire in 1972.

    In the first years of the reserve's existence, the remaining residential houses were bought out. At present, no one permanently lives in the reserve.

    HISTORY OF ANIMAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

    Hunting in the trans-Volga region has always been the main occupation of local residents "...because on the land unsuitable for arable farming they eat not only game but also squirrels and other animals".

    By the middle of the 19th century, under the influence of excessive hunting, the game animal population, e.g. reindeer, had been reduced, the desman population had been reduced, and the beaver on the Kerzhenets was completely exterminated. At the end of the 19th century, hunting moose, bear, lynx, marten, and badger was banned in the whole European part of Russia.

    Fishing in the Kerzhenets had no commercial value. There were always many fish in the Kerzhenets, but the species composition changed over time.

    Fishing on the dugout was particularly common at the Kerzhenets. The use of prohibited fishing gear (nets, jackets, etc.) became widespread in the second half of the 20th century.

    The uncontrolled hunting and use of prohibited fishing methods resulted in the extinction of some species of animals from the territory of the planned reserve: reindeer, wolverine, Russian desman, white partridge, etc.

    HISTORY OF FOREST DEVELOPMENT

    Harvesting wood for various needs has been an important source of resources for human existence for many centuries.

    Harvesting was mainly carried out in winter by artel brigades. The timber was transported to flooded areas, where logs were tied into rafts, by frozen roads or by sledge paths, with the help of human forces, later on horses.

    Till the beginning of 1930th years the amount of floated wood on the river Kerzhenets did not exceed 100 thousand cubic meters a year. Logging has increased with the development of technology. In the 1950s, the amount of all floated wood in Kerzhenets reached 1 million cubic meters per year.

    At the end of 1970 and until the beginning of 1990, resinous wood (pine resin stumps) and pine oleoresin (resin) were being harvested.

    Active deforestation resulted in the destruction of most of the forest stands. Severe fires in 1972 had a negative impact on flora and fauna.

    INFORMATION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF THE KERZHENSKY FORESTS

     

    The area near the Kerzhenets River is known for its history. Ancient tools indicate the arrival of the first settlements in the middle reaches of the Kerzhenets in the Neolithic Age (New Stone Age), in the IV-II millennia B.C.

     

    "Stone axes found in the villages of Pokrovskoye, Khvostikovo, Pydrei, Kirillovo and Kondratyevo are known. ... There were also found scrapers, ceramics in the area of Chernozerye (territory of the reserve, Borsky district) on the left bank of the middle reaches of the Kerzhenets River. There are no official data on the exploration of these territories. No excavations have been carried out here". (Akimov, 1955)

     

    This period is believed by many researches to include the exploitation of the trans-Volga region forests and settlement of Finno-Ugric tribes in the trans-Volga region.

     

    Finno-Ugric peoples left the main toponymic layer in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The names of many rivers, lakes, and some geographical names of the area belong to the Finno-Ugric languages. The cult of plants was widespread among all Finno-Ugric peoples, for example, there were sacred groves and revered trees. Bear, moose and squirrel were revered among wild animals.

     

    The lands rich in forests and waters were successfully developed by forest bee-keepers, hunters and ploughmen from the Old Slavic tribes of Vyatichi and Krivichi. Ancient historians described them even in the IV century A.D. According to the preserved information, they were swarthy from sunburn, with blond hair, physically strong, friendly people. By one theory, in this period there was a continuous process of assimilation of Finno-Ugric peoples with Slavic.

     

    Resettlement of Russian had at first character of escape from the Tatar-Mongolian conquerors, and in 16th century peasants were rescued in the Kerzhensky forests from servility for failing to pay a growing levy and tax. In the middle of the 17th century, during the reform of Patriarch Nikon, the dense forests of the Kerzhenets were a shelter for the Old Believers, who hid in them from persecution.

     

    At the end of the 19th century, intensive development of the Kerzhensky forests began.

     

    By the middle of the 20th century, the territory where the reserve is located nowadays became a large forest resource base of the region. The timber procurement establishment carried out large-scale logging. Temporary settlements with full infrastructure were built (to attract young workers), as well as ways of communication and transportation of forest raw materials. The scale of logging was huge. Dozens of overpasses, transport stops, and more than 20 settlements and cordons were located in this area, many of which were destroyed by a forest fire in 1972.

     

     

    At the time of establishment of the Kerzhensky Nature Reserve, the list of settlements of Rustai town council included the village of Vishnya, the town of Rustai, the village of Chernozerye, the village of Chernorechye, and the village of Kriul. Residents remained only in two settlements: 2 people in the Chernorechye and 5 people in the Chernozerye.

     

    In the first years of the reserve's existence, the remaining houses were bought out with the consent of their owners. Nowadays nobody lives in the reserve permanently.

     

    HISTORY OF ANIMAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

     

    Hunting in the trans-Volga region has always been the main occupation of local residents.

     

    "Hunting is the occupation of many woodmen of the trans-Volga region counties. It is possible to say especially about the Cheremis of the Zavetluzhye region: they get the main food by hunting because on the land unsuitable for arable farming they eat not only game but also squirrels and other animals".

     

    "The Cheremis often hit squirrels with blunt arrows from bows, but in general, everywhere in the woods hunters shoot them mainly with small bullet rifles, with one pellet". (Forest Journal, 1836)

     

    By the middle of the 19th century, under the influence of excessive hunting, the game animal population, e.g. reindeer, had been reduced, the desman population had been reduced, and the beaver on the Kerzhenets was completely exterminated.

     

    However, in the swampy part of the forests untouched by the axe of the timber industry, there remained a considerable amount of game in those times. "Nevertheless, hunters from the village of Makaryevo still shoot many bears and elk, sometimes martens, more often squirrels, but nothing is heard of deer and lynxes. They catch a lot of wolves, foxes, hares, minks, and occasionally otters". (Tolstoy, 1857)

     

    Salamykov refers to a rare species of game fauna such as wolverine: "...this animal is known only by rumour among our hunters-industrialists of the forest area of Semenovsky and Makaryevsky districts; there in 1872 near the rivers Kerzhenets and Pugay was accidentally killed (on the trail) wolverine, and farmers find it very difficult to identify this animal".

     

    In 1892, the Government adopted special hunting regulations for the European part of Russia. In the territory where the reserve is now located, it was allowed to hunt hares, ducks, squirrels, wood grouse, black grouse, and woodcock, less often fox and raccoon dog. Hunting moose, bear, lynx, marten, and badger was forbidden.

     

    Fishing in the Kerzhenets had the limited individual character and no commercial value. There were always many fish in the Kerzhenets, but the species composition changed over time. For example, there are reports that in the 17th century, trout was found in the rivers of the Semenovsky district.

     

    In the 20th century, on the riverbanks of the middle Kerzhenets it was often possible to see a brook lamprey, nowadays this species is rarely seen. The sterlet, which was caught in a fishing line, lived near the mouth of the Pugay River.

     

    Fishing on the dugout was particularly common at the Kerzhenets. Spinning reel, leger rig and zherlitsa (using live bait) have also been used in different years. The use of prohibited fishing gear (nets, jackets, etc.) became widespread in the second half of the 20th century. Such gear was used insignificantly during the wood floating.

     

    The uncontrolled hunting and use of prohibited fishing methods resulted in the extinction of some species of animals from the territory of the planned reserve: reindeer, wolverine, Russian desman, white partridge, etc.

     

    HISTORY OF FOREST DEVELOPMENT

     

    Harvesting wood for various needs as well as hunting has been an important source of resources for human existence for many centuries.

     

    "Forests feed the people of the trans-Volga region: spoons, bowls, cups, ... buckets, tubs, pails, shovels, ... everything from the forest can be taken..." (Melnikov-Pechersky, "In the Forests")

     

    The first forest management in the state forests of Makarievsky and Semenovsky counties was carried out in the beginning of 1860. There had been a shift, from chaotic selective logging for the needs of farmers in the Volga region to solid logging for the needs of the state.

     

    There is some interesting information about the forests of the trans-Volga region in the 1886 article by Kern. "The lands here are sandy and bad", the main breeds are pine, spruce, and oak. "The pine is chopped up into a sleeper timber, constructional timber, and sawtimber; the spruce is mainly used for batten and tree stump; the oak is used for rims, skids, stave, spokes; the whole large-size oak has a core rot and goes for firewood".

     

    The main proceeds from the sale of the Kerzhensky timber went to the state treasury, except for the periods of the Mongol-Tatar Yoke and of the ownership of the forests by the Makaryevsky monastery.

     

    Harvesting was mainly carried out in winter by artel brigades. The timber was transported to flooded areas, where logs were tied into rafts, by frozen roads or by sledge paths, with the help of human forces, later on horses.

     

    Flooded areas with flat open banks and good driveways, where rafts for river rafting were tied together, were called "plot’ba". The Kerzhenets River with the inflows long time played a role of a transport highway on which hundreds thousand cubic meters of wood from the most hard-to-reach timberland of the trans-Volga region were carried out to the Volga River. On the Kerzhenets River, both floating of loose wood and timber rafting were practiced by single-tier and multi-level rafts.

     

    Till the beginning of 1930th years the amount of floated wood on the river Kerzhenets did not exceed 100 thousand cubic meters a year. Logging has increased with the development of technology. In the 1950s, the amount of all floated wood in Kerzhenets reached 1 million cubic meters per year.

     

    Some inflows of the Kerzhenets were also used for floating of loose wood.

     

    Forest resources were developed by forest farms and chemical forestries along with the timber procurement establishment. Chemical forestries were extracting oleoresin (pine resin). At the end of 1970 and until the beginning of 1990, resinous wood (pine resin stumps) was being harvested. The stumps remained after felling were harvested and used several years later in the chemical industry.

     

    An explosive named ammonal (a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder) was used to uproot the stumps. Until now, in the woods there are still remnants of thin coloured wire used to detonate and stumps hanging high on trees that hang after the explosions.

     

    Active deforestation resulted in the destruction of most of the forest stands. Severe fires in 1972 had a negative impact on flora and fauna.

    Ecocenter and Directorate
    In Nizhniy Novgorod

    603001, Nizhny Novgorod,

    st. Rozhdestvenskaya, d. 23,
    Reserve "Kerzhensky"

    work time: 9: 30-17: 30
    Mon-Fri.,
    Closed Sat.- Sun.

    (831) 431-30-56, 431-31-91

    kerzhenskiy@kerzhenskiy.ru

    Parent Organization –
    Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia

    Ecocenter
    in the village Rustay

    606491, Nizhny Novgorod region.,

    pos. Rustay GO Bor
    st. Oktyabrskaya, d.17

    in the summer every day 9: 00-17: 00,
    winter 10: 00-15: 00
    Mon-Fri.,
    Sat-Sun - in advance. applications.

    Scientific Department:
    (83159) 3-92-32
    Accounting:
    (83159) 3-92-30
    Environmental education
    +79200772831

    The base of protection
    in the village Rustay

    606491, Nizhny Novgorod region.,

    pos. Rustay GO Bor
    st. Yubileinaya, d. 7

    Report emergency:
    +7 930 80 89 271
       (round the clock)

    (83159) 3-91-96