Historical outline

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the desert had been used as a training ground. During the First World War, the Auxiliary Legion Infantry Battalion trained here before the battle of Krzywopłoty. During the interwar period, this area was used for training by the infantry and artillery of the Corps District No V in Cracow. Before the Second World War, the desert was also used by the Polish Army as an air forces training ground, and during the Second World War, the desert served as proving ground for Afrika Korps and German airmen from the base Udetfeld near Siewierz – nowadays Pyrzowice. Thanks to the documents of The Regional Infrastructure Management in Cracow, we know that in the 60s of the previous century, the area of the desert was used as the 27th Air Proving Ground Olkusz-Błędów, on which were located: a garrison building, a building serving as a garage and stables, an MPS warehouse (a dugout with a wooden roof), a command post, two bunkers made of crushed rock gravel, three thirty-meter high watchtowers and a topographic tower. The command post was situated from the side of Chechło and at the mountain Czubatka in Klucze. However, due to the risk of collapsing, the ruins have been removed.

By the decision of the Boards of the People’s Council in Cracow and Stalinogród, the army was given, in 1954, the area of land of approx. 2289 ha, part of which were the areas of the Błędów Desert and forests. Nowadays, only the northern part of the desert, which is governed by the army, serves as an army proving ground. This area covers approx. 375 ha and is used by the 6th Airborne Brigade as a dump of paratroopers, warlike equipment and supplies. Its location, lay, and overlay of the terrain are useful for parachute trainings, without the additional financial costs for preparing the dump.

Within the area of the desert, including the pard being the property of the army, is being executed the project “Kompleksowa ochrona nieleśnych siedlisk przyrodniczych na terenach wojskowych NATURA 2000” (The complex protection of non-forest nature habitats within the military areas NATURA 2000) – Life+ the Błędów Desert. Its execution is to last until June 2017. The aim of this project is to reach a proper level of nature protection for the largest Polish complex of two psammophilic nature habitats, as well as to recover the sand areas of the Desert.

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