The National Park
Unlike in some mountain areas, the national border between Austria and the Czech Republic, and therefore the border between the two national parks, goes right through the deepest place in the middle of the Thaya River. But in the Kirchenwald forest or at the Turmfelsen rock the border is not a break in nature. Since there are no natural barriers, such as high mountain ranges, the two sides do not differ much in landscape, biodiversity or human interference, which makes cooperation across borders even more important for these national parks.
Language BarriersThis may not always be easy as language barriers are difficult to overcome, but it is essential for the development of the national parks. With this proviso, the two administrations sat together from the start and worked out common goals for the future national park management.
It is also not easy as the organizational conditions are very different. The Austrian National Park Thayatal is a company with limited liability, the Národní park Podyjí is an agency of the Czech Ministry of Environment. The National Park Thayatal has a light administrative structure, in the National park Podyjí the former forestry management became part of the national park administration. For some regulations, i.e. on utilization, the Lower Austrian national park law is much clearer than the Czech one. This can facilitate or complicate measures.
This explains why management measures are not always consistent. However, the two administrations have agreed to define common goals, which each side should reach within ten years in accordance with their legislative standards.
These general goals are:
- Maintain and develop the characteristics of habitats and promote biodiversity and self regulation;
- Eliminate or diminish the negative impacts of former and present human interferences, in particular in forests and in the Thaya;
- Offer opportunities to experience nature and relax;
- Improve the quality of life of the local population in the national park area and of visitors to the national parks, and thus directly or indirectly improve the economic situation in the region;
- Increase knowledge of interrelations/connections between natural cycles through research and verify the impact of measures through scientific observations;
- Appear in public more like ONE NATIONAL PARK across two states in future.
A Power Plant as Obstacle
One main transborder concern could so far not be addressed. For years both administrations, in particular the Czech one, have attempted to draw up regulations for the Vranov power plant that would be compatible with the ecosystem of the Thaya. Neither the present minimum water flow nor the tide levels are compliant with a natural watercourse.
Fishery also saw little improvement. Austria prohibited fishing in about 80% of the river and rules were restricted accordingly (fishing periods, intake). The Czech Republic has so far only applied this to the section along the border. Outside this common area, more casual regulations are still in force.
In 2008, resting areas where hunting has been prohibited were established for the first time on the Czech side, and also coordinated with the already existing Austrian resting areas.
At international level, the project "Transborder National Park Thayatal-Podyjí" is considered as a successful example of cooperation, and is often quoted and visited by experts.
For more detailed information on the National Park Podyjí,
please go to