The Parnidis Dune

Parnidis dune
The Parnidis Dune

South of the settlement of Nida, Neringa

Having climbed the Parnidis Dune on the southern side of the settlement of Nida, one finds the place where the white dunes are located. It is the only place in the Curonian Spit National Park where the chain of shifting dunes has survived to this day. To the south of the Parnidis Dune, there is a view of the shifting dunes in the Grobštas State Strict Nature Reserve, and with good visibility, one can also see the sand dunes of the Russian Federation. Scientists estimate that due to the prevailing westerly winds, these travelling dunes move from 0.5 to 10 metre eastwards per year. Sand is a light and loose rock that travels long distances when carried by wind. The dunes move when the sand is carried from the windward slope to the leeward one. The wind-rolled sand travels in the spit in sand furrows until it gets stuck behind a plant. In places where no one visits, the surface of the dunes resembles the seabed. These shifting dunes, also called the white dunes, contain quartz, which gives a light hue to the sand dunes of the spit, and which makes up from 85% to 99% of the surface.
The large Poaceae plants grow in the areas of sand, e.g. the marram grass, the blue lyme grass and the feathertop reed grass. Thanks to their strong rootstocks, these plants are able to grow in the volatile sand of the seaside and to trap the wind-blown sand, dispersing the gusts of wind with the leaves. Therefore, thanks to the shelter created by these strong true grasses, more delicate plants can grow as well, e.g. Hieracium canadense, Tragopogon heterospermus, Linaria loeselii and the sea pea.
In order to protect the highly sensitive and vulnerable habitat of the white dunes, the flow of visitors is regulated and certain areas strictly forbidden to visit have been established. We kindly remind you that you cannot climb and descend on the eastern slopes of the Parnidis Dune.

Photo by Rytis Šeškaitis