Why Forest upon the Red? The name of the reserve comes from the zygonium ericetorum alga, whose thallus takes on a deep red colour in autumn. The Nowy Targ forest was one of the first forests in Poland to be protected. Already in 1925, the unique character of the forest complex was recognised by creating a nature reserve covering 2 hectares of raised peat bog. In connection with intensive peat extraction work that threatened the existence of the peat bog, it was decided in the 1950s to expand the protection area of the reserve to 8 hectares, and in the following years to more than 114 hectares. One of the algae found here is zygonium ericetorum, which takes on a deep red colour after it dries in autumn.
What is peat? Peat is a sedimentary rock formed by the incomplete decomposition of plant remains in the topsoil under conditions of prolonged or complete flooding. Peat deposits grow extremely slowly, about 1–1.5 millimetres per year, and only under suitable conditions. For centuries, peat was used for homestead purposes, mainly as fertiliser or fuel. It also found applications in medicine as therapeutic poultice and as an additive to various kinds of medicines. A rather interesting educational path has been marked out through the reserve, bringing tourists closer to this little-known but very beautiful fragment of Podhale. The viewing platform at the end of the path lets visitors admire a panorama of the Tatras and the Gorce Mountains, but above all the unique and picturesque landscape of the peat bog.