The idea of a preserve creation in the up-lands of Central Altai was suggested for the first time by V.P.Semyonov-Tyanshansky as far back, as the beginning of the 20th century. Since then the foundation of a preserve at the river-basin of the Katun and its upper reaches was discussed for a number of times.
Officially the Katun State Nature Preserve was registered on July 25, 1991 for the purpose of unique natural complexes of Central Altai protection.
In 1998 the Katun State Nature Preserve was included to the list of Universal Natural Heritage at the General Assembly of UNESCO on Universal cultural and natural heritage.
The preserved territory covers macroslope of the Katun Ridge and is situated in the central part of the Altai Republic. Being actually in the very center of Eurasia, Altai is found in the zone of influence of different climate-forming factors, which create infinite number of ecological and geographical nuances giving vividly expressed originality and charm to the nature of this mountain region.
Mutual penetration of different landscape types creates inimitable and contrast combination.
There are a lot of glaciers, precipitous rocks, mountain streams with waterfalls, not large lakes on the territory of the Preserve.
The Katun Preserve is a seat of modern glaciating. Glaciers play a great role in formation of modern river flows, climate and up-land landscapes of the Katun Preserve.
FloraFlora and faunafauna of this region are varied and unique. 700 plant species grow on the territory of the Preserve, 22 of them are entered in the Red Book of Russia and the Altai Republic. There are lots of plants of medical and technical value in the Preserve.
Also on the Preserve's territory are found: 51 mammal species, 140 bird species, 3 species of reptiles and 8 fish species. Among fur-bearing animals chipmunk, squirrel, sable are found, among forest hoofed animals - elk, maral, musk-deer. Siberian mountain goat is found in the up-lands. Typical for this Preserve are such wild animals as brown bear, lynx and glutton, as well as small wild animals - ermine, Siberian weasel, mink, weasel.
Besides specially protected animals, a whole complex of mammals and birds of hunting fauna inhabit the territory of the Preserve.
Lots of picturesque waterfalls are on the rivers flowing through the territory of the Preserve.
There are no large lakes on its territory, but the present ones are very scenic and connected with activity of ancient glaciers: they are of big size and are situated in glacier and river valleys.
The Preserve is a model of Altaian nature, for it is representative to a marked degree concerning flora and fauna. Landscape altitude zones are well-expressed within its limits, many vegetable associations are presented and flora contains the majority of plants found in Gorny Altai.