Size: 22,200 ha
Year of foundation: 2002
Municipality of Cerknica
Public Institute of Notranjska Regional Park
404 natural values, among them 297 underground caves. The whole area of the park is of ecological importance (The central area of the large beasts’ habitat.) There are 9 Natura 2000 areas, 6 for habitats and 3 for birds. Natura 2000 area of Cerkniško jezero is declared for 33 bird species.
Part of the park was declared for wetlands of international importance in 2006 – Ramsar’s area called Cerknica Lake with surroundings.
The Notranjska Regional Park was established by the municipality of Cerknica in 2002 with a view to preserve, protect and explore natural and cultural values, exceptional geomorphological, geological and hydrological characteristics, protect natural ecosystems and characteristics of an inanimate nature, as well as the archaeological and ethnological heritage.
The area of the Notranjska Regional Park is characterized by a unique combination of diverse landscape, the coexistence of man and nature and a large number of Karst phenomena on the surface and in the underworld. In the protected area there is a large number of rare and diverse habitats, flora and fauna, as well as geological and cultural heritage. The overhanging rocks in the Rakov Škocjan Valley are also where endemic Justin's Bellflower (Campanula justiniana) grows
The central area of the Notranjska Regional Park is the intermittent Cerknica Lake. Its maximum flooding surface is almost 29km2. Water flows into Cerknica Lake from the Loka Valley through the underground caves of the Velika Golobina, which after almost two kilometres of flowing underground comes to the surface on the eastern edge of Cerknica Lake at the Obrh and Cemun Springs. Water, which disappears underground on the Bloke Plateau, rushes to the surface in several springs on the northern edge of the Cerknica Field; the largest among them are the Šteberški Obrh and Žerovniščica Springs. The only surface inflow of the Cerknica Lake is the Cerkniščica. Cerknica Lake has no surface drains, and all water from the lake drains through underground caves, the largest of which are the Great Karlovica and the Small Karlovica Cave with over 8,500m of explored underground tunnels.
Many years ago, Janez Vajkard Valvasor wrote: “The Carniolan name for the lake is Cerknica Lake and I think that there is no other lake in Europe or in the world quite as beautiful.”