The Nature Park of Dole Island

Once the largest island on the Daugava was called initially the King’s Island (insula regis). The name Dole (German for Dahlen) possibly comes from the 13th century in relation to the name of Dahlen – the lord of Vecdole Castle. Formed as a single land plot, the island is separated from mainland by two branches of the Daugava River (the Road Daugava, the Dry Daugava). Before Riga Hydropower Station was built and the upper part of the island was flooded, Dole Island was around 8 – 9 km long and 3.5 km wide. Nowadays its length is about 5.2 km. Some branches of the Daugava have formed several smaller islands, separated from the main island (Mārtiņsala, Zirņu Island, Nolpes Island and others). The island has a long-lasting history as it has been inhabited from 2000 BC onwards.

The Nature park of Dole Island with an area of 1044 ha was established in 1987 with an aim to preserve the unusual landscape and cultural heritage of the above-water part of Dole Island, as well as to provide for optimal utilisation of the recreational resources. It is also a part of the European nature preservation area Natura 2000 with valuable and particularly preservable biotopes. The central part of the Nature park is covered by pine forests, while the surroundings of the Daugava are covered with meadows and fields. The territory also includes Dole Manor, along with its park. Several protected plant species have remained on the island. The unsettled Daugava and Dole Island with dwelling sites of various bird species, is an interesting destination for keen bird watchers throughout the whole year. It is also popular among cyclists and hikers.

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