The Mionší NNR is one of the oldest and most well known reserves in the Beskydy mountain range. The territory has been preserved since 1933 and the current NNR on an area of 169.70 ha was declared in 1954. The reserve lies on the ridge and slopes of Mt. Úplaz (949.6 m) and Mt. Velké Polany (893 m) about 1 km east of the centre of the village of Horní Lomná, in the Moravskoslezský kraj – Moravian-Silesian Region. The reserve lies at elevations from 720 to 950 metres. This is the largest complex of near-natural fir-beech growths of the Carpathian type with sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) in the Czech Republic. The forests are interspersed with several mountain meadows, springs and small rock formation in the SE section.
The northern section of the NNR is built of the Godula Member of the Flysh units, while the smaller southern section lies on the Istebňany Member. The steep slopes which fall in all directions are modelled by intensive fluvial erosion. Rocky talus can be found on the upper parts of the slopes while lower areas are covered with colluvia. Skeletal brown forest soils are the predominant type and the gley process takes place around springs.
The core areas of Mionší NNR are covered with forests with a species composition and forest structure which is close to the original Carpathian fir-beech primeval forests. Fractured trees, windfalls and the massive trunks of fallen trees give the forests a primeval character. The Mionší forests are classified as herb-rich beech forests of the Dentario glandulosae – Fagetum association, along with small areas of talus and ravine forest of the Lunario – Aceretum alliance. The main tree species are beech (Fagus sylvatica) and silver fir (Abies alba). Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) grows here in quite large numbers and often has a typical scaly, rough bark. Norway spruce (Picea abies) is a natural element of the forest growths around the peak of Úplaz (950 m). The shrub layer includes mezereon (Daphne mezereum), black-berried honeysuckle (Lonicera nigra), mountain currant (Ribes alpinum) and gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa).
In the herb layer we can find rarer species which are bound to the fir-beech and talus forests such as nine-leaved toothwort (Dentaria enneaphyllos), perennial honesty (Lunaria rediviva), martagon lily (Lilium martagon), goatsbeard (Aruncus vulgaris) and snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). Typical Carpathian elements include Jupiter’s distaff (Salvia glutinosa), purple toothwort (Dentaria glandulosa) and the figwort Scrophularia scopolii.
On the mountain meadows we can find specially protected plant species such as the gladiolus Gladiolus imbricatus, the globe orchid Traunsteinera globosa, fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)and moonwort (Botrychium lunaria). An eye-catching species on the meadows is the woolly thistle (Cirsium eriophorum).
Mionší NNR is one of the most significant mycological localities in the Czech Republic, and is a type locality for the rare bracket fungi species Phellinus pouzarii and Antrodiella beschidica.
The fauna consists mostly of mountain species of great significance. An interesting example is the rare moth Scardia boletella of the Tineidaewhich develops in dead beech wood and the hoof fungus (Fomes fomentarius) which grows on beech trees. This moth can only be found in the Czech Republic in Mionší NNR and in the Novohradské hory mountain range. A total of 61 mollusc species live here, including the typical Carpathian snail species - Laciniarina gulo which is on its western range-edge here and the blue slug Bielzia coerulans.
The temporary or permanent presence of 110 vertebrate species has been recorded in the NNR and its surroundings. These include 5 amphibians, including the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris), 4 reptile species, 73 bird species and 28 kinds of mammals. The primeval forest growths provide nesting sites for birds which are rare elsewhere, including the three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopus leucotus), Tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus), pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum), black stork (Ciconia nigra) and spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata). The nesting population of Ural owls (Strix uralensis) is unique within the realms of the Czech Republic. Mionší and its surroundings are also one of the last refuges of the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). Thanks to the preserved environment, the extensive and remote area and the proximity of the Slovakian mountain ranges, Mionší NNR attracts large predators such as the lynx (Lynx lynx), brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the wolf (Canis lupus). Their tracks have been found here.
The Mionší forests were already regarded as a special hunting preserve from the 17th century (a “game chamber”). Therefore these forests have never been intensively used for commercial forestry. The only exception was selective felling of selected fir trees and also mountain grazing with the formation of mountain meadows. After grazing was forbidden in the 19th century the meadows were maintained by cutting by hand. The territory has served scientific purposes since the mid 20th century.
Public access to the NNR has always been restricted. At present it is possible for visitors to enter the reserve on the themed nature trail which is open from 1st June to 15th September. This circular trail has 10 stops, with information panels in Czech and Polish, where we can learn about the nature, history and settlement of this harsh landscape. The trail starts at the edge of Dolní Lomná village at the mouth of the Mionší stream valley, where we can find a car park and a bus stop. The trail is marked with wooden arrows with the symbol of a grouse, is about 7 km long with a height difference of more than 300 m, and will take 2 – 3 hours to walk. Information leaflets in Czech, Polish and English are available and it is possible to order a guided tour for groups at the Municipal Authority (Obecní úřad) in Dolní Lomná.