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The Slavkovský les Nature Reserve
The whole Bečov region is a part of the Slavkovský les nature reserve. Let's give the basic information about it.
The nature reserve was declared on May 3rd, 1974. It includes the Slavkovský les Mountains between Karlovy Vary, Kynšperk-on-Ohře, Mariánské Lázně and Javorná and parts of the Tepelská Highlands, the Doupovské Mountains, the Chebská Basin and the Tachovská Ridge. The whole region whose area is more than 600 km2 has got a peneplain character. The nature reserve reaches into four districts.
The highest hills of the Slavkovský les Mountains are Lesný (938m) and Lysina (982m) near Kynžvart. The largest part of this region is drained by the Teplá River which flows into the Ohře River. The territory of the nature reserve is 75% covered with vast spruce forests. Several rare peat bogs have been preserved in the southern part of the nature reserve. The typical plant of the Slavkovský les Mountains is the arnica, which is also in the emblem of the nature reserve.
An important natural phenomenon of this territory are numerous cold and warm mineral springs which started the famous spa tradition in the territorial triangle Karlovy Vary - Mariánské Lázně - Františkovy Lázně. The necessity of ensuring the protection of the natural healing sources was the main reason why the nature reserve was established. The mineral springs in the Slavkovský les Mountains came into being as result of the fading volcanic activity of the Tertiary. Numerous hills whose origin is volcanic prove its existence (Homolka near Bečov, Andělská hora, etc).
The flora and fauna in the Slavkovský les Mountains are very rich in species. The rarest species are protected in 21 small nature reserves (Křížky, Homolka, Sirňák, Kladské rašeliny, Pluhův bor, Planý vrch, Smraďoch, Vlček, Upolínová louka near Křížky, Dominova skalka, Holina, etc). Some particularly rare areas are closed to the public to avoid their devastation. To get to some interesting places, visitors can use instructive paths (Kladská, Smraďoch, Doubí-the Svatošské skály Rocks, the Geological Park in Mariánské Lázně). The territory of the Slavkovský les nature reserve is covered with numerous marked footpaths. The headquarters of the nature reserve can be found in Mariánské Lázně.