Nationalpark Thayatal

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National Park Thayatal
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The National Park


The National Park Thayatal

On 1 January 2000 the National Park Thayatal became a reality. Since then, the national park administration has been endeavoring to protect and develop this area so that nature may be allowed to follow its course without human interference, in transborder cooperation with its Czech neighbour, the National Park Podyjí.

The Thayatal is an impressive valley with steep cliffs and gentle meadows, natural forests and a fascinating fauna. In places where economic interference has left its marks, where conifers were planted in inappropriate locations, the national park staff is trying to foster the growth of indigenous trees. In other areas, they only observe how fauna and flora are developing. Research is an important activity in national parks as it enables to gain insight on natural processes through long-term observation.

The making of a national park

A national park is a long-term project, as it was the case with the National Park Thayatal. Traces of former utilization are still visible. In the natural forests, one can still find trees of the same age group and the animals still shy away from visitors. Nature works over centuries and demands patience.

The same patience must be shown by visitors when they look for the black stork, search for the fish otter or watch some dice snakes sunbathing. And yet, the National Park is nature's treasure trove and deserves to be discovered. Particularly younger visitors are encouraged to take a discovery tour as they stand the best chances to follow up on the making of a national park. Anyone who once attended to a group of school children and witnessed their enthusiasm at uncovering nature's secrets will know how much excitement national parks can cause. They truly are Austria's largest outdoor laboratory.

On this homepage you will find reviews on nature and offers, but also details on what there is to discover. Take the time to go on a virtual tour of the National Park Thayatal and maybe soon on a real trip through this charming valley at the border.

National Parks - an idea establishes itself

National parks were brought into the world at the Congress in Washington D.C. in 1872. When the senators decided to establish the Yellowstone National Park at the time, they did not know how this idea would develop.

The first and oldest national park in the world became the National Park per excellence and was the beginning of a success story. Around 150 countries have since declared almost 4,000 areas, covering about 4.5 million km2, to national parks (World Conservation Monitoring Centre UNEP-WCMC, 2003). Unlike the USA, Europe established its first national park rather late. It was only in 1909 that the first national park was created in Sweden. However, the concept had already spread around, as the initiative of the Austrian Alpine Association showed, which in the same year founded the "Austrian Association of Nature Protection Parks” that aimed at protecting the Alpine landscape and establishing a national park.

That it was only in 1971 that the political intention to establish the National Park Hohe Tauern was voiced in the Heiligblut Declaration underlines how controversial the issue of national parks also was in Austria. As other nature conservation projects, national parks had a reputation for preventing economic development. But is this really the case?