Sunset Trail, Show all 105 places in LATVIA » LATVIA105
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The Sunset trail starts in the centre of Saulkrasti town and takes you to the White Dune. Saulkrasti town with its municipal rural territory, occupies a 17km long stretch of coastal land to the North from the river Lilaste and the lake Lilaste.
The White Dune stands on the right side of river Inčupe mouth. It is covered by old pine forest. The white, 18m high sand outcrop in olden times served as a landmark for fishermen. The White Dune formed as winds carried the sand from the beach over clay sediments of the Baltic Ice Lake. Some 150-200 years ago, the dune had been drifting as witnessed by several layers of soil buried within it. Local fishermen and farmers at Bātciems initiated afforestation of the drifting dunes. At that time, the 30m high dunes which are now covered with forest, were bare, shifting and even buried a farmstead. To speed up afforestation, mountain pines were planted. The White Dune was partly washed away in heavy storm in 1969, and 4-6m high precipice formed. Now the wind and sand have levelled out the dune surface, it has been fixed with willow-twigs or grown with forest where the largest pines are more than 170-190 years old. The pines are notable with their large trunks and branches, the scars obtained during their lifetime and the typical “crocodile skin” – the bark forms rhombuses resembling those of the reptile’s scales. Scots Pine (Pinus Silvestris) is one of the most common tree species in Latvia. It grows in dry, meagre sandy soil in dunes as well as in marsh. However, it does not stand overshadowing. Forest fires help pines to get rid of competitors as pine endures fire better than other trees because of its thick bark and high crown. The wood exudes resin and burned wounds close soon. Fire cleans space for seedlings of young pines. Pines can live 300-350 years.
Ground cover in dune forests is very sensitive. If the sparse vegetation is destroyed, not only the natural biodiversity and landscape is damaged, but also the dangerous shifting dunes can possibly “wake up”.
Embryonic dunes, White (yellow) dunes, Grey dunes and Wooded dunes are EU protected biotopes. Grey Dunes are protected by Latvian law as well.
A wooden trail with watching platform is built to protect the White Dune and to facilitate the sightseeing. In winter, a skiing trail in the vicinity of the White Dune is arranged.