Hidden treasures under Lima 608, Quebec 102 and Mike 984

Saukaralm, National Park Hohe Tauern/Foto: NPHT

The air routes, Lima 608 ‘, Quebec 102’ and ‘Mike 984’ lead across one of the most beautiful regions of the Eastern Alps, over a piece of Europe, which has largely remained untapped, over a piece of untouched nature, over the National Park Hohe Tauern.

In times like these, it will be more and more important to work together to achieve success for our mother earth, said Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on June the 1st  after the announcement of Donald Trump’s exit from the Paris agreement. We need this Paris agreement to keep our creation. Nothing can and will stop us. “

The highest peaks of Austria, Großglockner and Großvenediger, the largest contiguous glacier area of ​​the Eastern Alps, over 150 ,Three Thousanders´, over 100 mountain lakes, 27 glaciers, the Krimmler waterfalls, the highest of Europe, massive rock walls and wide lawns form the core zone of the national park Hohe Tauern are under this air route network.

The Großglockner, Austria´s highest mountain/Foto: NPHT

Two zones with different protection characteristics ensure that plants and animals are preserved in their diversity. The core zone was never designed by man. Alpine pastures, mountain pastures and protected forests, show what man has created in harmony with nature for centuries. In the search for habitat humans populated even before millennia the valleys of the Hohentauern. These peasants, shepherds and hunters lacked the technical means of doing violence to nature. They used the mind to adapt their way of life to the laws of nature. Thus the work designed the alpine cultural land without bringing ecology into conflict with ecology.

But the mountains were scary. When storms, hailstorms, avalanches, and muds were conjectured, they were the seat of evil spirits and witches. In a ,witches process´, a Pinzgauer shepherd testified in 1575 to have seen a witches’ battalion on a glacier: “These weathermakers” had ridden over the mountain ridges on broomsticks, hacked glacier blocks into hailstorms, devastating the sober fields in the valley.

What attracted people to the mountains of the Hohe Tauern, in spite of everything, was gold. At the heyday of gold mining in the mid-16th century, around 10 percent of world production came from there. Since ancient times, the most important trade routes between the Adriatic and Germany have passed through the passes of the Hohentauern.

The fear of the mountains turned into the care for the mountains

Alpine roses, a kind of rhododendron, are blooming June in the national park Hohe Tauern / photo NPHT

The development of the Alps by mountain railways, roads and tourism, however, developed in such a dynamic way decades ago that the fear of the mountains turned into the care for the mountains, for the untouched alpine landscape. In 1909 the association “Naturschutzpark” was established in Munich. It  dedicated itself  to the task of protecting the alpine flora and fauna in the Hohentauern, preserving mountain streams, mountain lakes, and waterfalls in their natural course, and protecting them from being used for industry or railways. At this point, the development of the Hohe Tauern National Park began.

Wildschönau/Foto: NPHT

The idea to build a national park in the Hohentauern was born shortly after the last century turn. The realization, however, lasted until the 1980s. The National Park Hohe Tauern, which covers 1 800 square kilometers, existes in Carinthia since 1981, in Salzburg since 1984 and since 1992 in Tyrol.  Apart from mountain streams and lakes, about 45 hectares, the National Park is in private ownership: 44 percent agrarian communities, ten percent peasant single owners and 46 percent of the Austrian Alpine Association. It has 278 square kilometers and is thus the largest landowner. A national park on private property is only possible by a strong involvement of the local population.

Euro-Charter for Sustainable Tourism

Europes highes Waterfalls – The Krimmler waterfalls. The fine water drops of the mist are 200 times finer than those that come from asthmasprays / photo NPHT.

Once the holiday in the mountains was called “summer freshness” and this was always gentle tourism, which put on the power of the two legs instead of the comfort of the four wheels. The gentle tourism is natural and compliant with national parks, especially since the National Park Hohe Tauern is intended to serve the benefit of man. Physical requirements without stress, observing walking and tranquility help to shed some spilled experience again and sharpen. For example, snowshoeing in unspoilt nature is offered in winter. Many theme walks are available between July and September. From easy to challenging one is either on the trail of animals, follows the path of the water, crosses glaciers, cooks wild fruits or collects herbs.

Theme hikes with national park rangers

90 kilometers south of the city of Salzburg, traditional mountain villages of the Pinzgau, Pongaus and Lungau invite you to holiday from everyday life.

Recreation and hiking in the national park Hohe Tauern

Instruments for better predicting the Alps

In 2002, 300 participants from 34 nations dealt with national parks and tourism. The “Euro Charter for Sustainable Tourism” was awarded to the Hohentauern region. Eleven protected areas, including eight national parks from European countries, have joined forces to form a unique research project. The EU-funded project will create instruments that will enable them to better assess and predict developments in the Alps. In doing so, the research of certain methods, which provides the greatest possible overview with the best possible detail: the aerial image interpretation.

Infrared light images are used as the basis for the creation of a uniform classification mode for the interpretation of aerial images that can be used throughout the Alpine area. This will help answer questions such as the impact of climate change on alpine strata, agricultural structural change on alpine regions or structural measures on the protected areas. This large-scale project of the National Park Hohe Tauern and the national park Berchtesgaden have initiated and developed this project. 

Photo: WWF.at

It is to be hoped that the sustainable protection of the Alps will be ensured by preventing the construction of even more lifts and railways in rough terrain in order to open up tourism. According to an international agreement, national parks are designed to preserve landscapes, particularly impressive and safe habitats of plants and animals, and that people fail to intervene in natural processes.

Johanna Wenninger-Muhr



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