The cognitive walkway Pakalnė
Between two rivers Pakalnė and Rusnaitė Pakalnė cognitive walkway has been erected. Having made an arch of 3,5 km the walkway finishes where it has started - at the information centre of the Nemunas delta regional park. There is a story about the appearance of this information centre. The story relates that once came for hunting to Rusne the 1st secretary of the central committee of the communist party of Lithuanian SSR Mr. Antanas Sniečkus. At the place where today the centre stands he shot a doe. He told to erect on the site where the doe fell a building. It was done as said. In a year the beautiful and modern structure was completed. During construction work the Pakalne river was dammed and turned to another direction thus becoming a wash.
While walking along the walkway the traveller will get acquainted with the typical landscape of overflowing meadows their flora and fauna, soil, polder system. He or she will learn what impact to the nature does drainage and some aspects of everyday life local people. The model camping of orderly leisure time passing will be presented to the tourist.
The longest walkway of the Nemunas delta regional park has been erected in the territory of Pakalne polder landscape preserve which is located on the Rusne island. The [reserve was founded with the intention to conserve the polder landscape with a host of Nemunas watercourses, the oldest water lifting station in Lithuania, Uostadvaris lighthouse, the nesting and resting (during migration period) grounds of birds.
The island of Rusne is situated in the youngest part of the delta which was washed in the latest earth history period. It is the lowest and flattest part of the region only about 0.5 – 1. m above Baltic sea level. The island that formed between the Atmata and the Skirvyte received the name of Rusne. It is supposed that the name was derived from a river. The area of the island makes 46 km². But in course of time smaller islets are formed from the silt that comes from the river and the Curonian bay. At first they are separated by channels but later on they grow bigger, these nature creations in Lithuanian are called gurgþdai but in German Werder. The islet channels gradually turn into lagoon type lakelets. Consequently the island slowly and continually grows.
The island of Rusnė and a fishermen settlement from the 13th century was governed by Germans of the Livonian order, later by the crusaders (the first church was built in 1419). According to historical sources this place was an intermediate point of trade routes and armed expeditions to Samogitia. For Lithuanians it was the most important waterway to reach the sea.
The first bulwark in the Rusnė island was erected in 1840. Since then with the help of polders the flood waters were regulated. All in all there are 21 polders on the island. In the lowlands of the Nemunas there are two types of polders - summer (overflowing) and winter (not overflowing). They differ from one another by the height of the bulwark (dam) and probability of overflowing. The summer polders are not overflowed by the vegetation season floods of 10% or higher probability and floods of springtime of 90% or higher probability. The average height of the bulwarks is 0.5 – 1.0 m. Higher floods of spring and summer overflow the summer polders. The winter (not overflowing) polders are protected from the floods by high bulwarks of 1.5 – 3.0 m and even high spring floods do not overflow them. Their height has been calculated for an overflowing probability by 1-3% of spring floods.
Rusnė island is known not only for the polders but also for canals, overflowing meadows, the diversity of water flora and fauna. All that and even more is reflected in the Pakalne cognitive walkway.