Are dogs allowed in the National Parks?
Yes, dogs are allowed into the National Park areas but must be kept on a lead in order to protect the wild animals and plants.
Can I pick flowers and collect mushrooms?
National Parks are valuable nature reserves. It is therefore important that you do not remove any natural materials. Just enjoy the moment, take some photos as a reminder and leave flowers and plants untouched, allowing other people to enjoy nature as well.
Can I camp in the National Parks?
In order to protect nature, camping is only permitted at officially and explicitly designated campsites. Research into where they are located should be conducted prior to your visit.
Lighting fires is prohibited without exception.
Can I go boating and swimming in the National Park areas?
Taking a boat road or going swimming is only allowed at specific designated sites. The conservation of sensitive flora and fauna takes priority at all other sites. It makes sense to get informed about effective regulations prior to your visit.
Can I leave the paths?
No, as the journey is the reward in the National Park area. A National Park experience in harmony with nature is only possible if the designated routes are strictly observed.
Is cycling allowed in the National Parks?
Of course, cycle routes passing through the National Parks area can be used. Cycling is prohibited on all other paths or off the paths in order to protect nature.
How many National Parks are there in Austria?
There are six national parks in Austria: the Danube Wetlands National Park (in Vienna/Lower Austria), the Gesäuse National Park (in Styria), the High Tauern National Park (in Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol), the Limestone Alps National Park (in Upper Austria), the Lake Neusiedl - Seewinkel National Park (in Burgenland) and the Thaya Valley National Park (in Lower Austria). Nature conservation in Austria is a matter for the regional states; eight National Park administrations provide assistance to the protected areas.
What is Nationalparks Austria?
Nationalparks Austria is the umbrella organisation for the Austrian National Parks. The non-profit association based in Orth an der Donau promotes cooperation in protected areas recognised as national parks by the IUC in Austria.
How much space is occupied by Austrian National Parks?
The domestic National Parks cover a total surface area of 238,035 ha. This is equivalent to approx. 3% of the national territory of Austria.
What responsibilities does a National Park have?
Core tasks of the Austrian national parks include nature and species conservation, education, research and recreation. These responsibilities are also stipulated in the recognition criteria of the IUCN.
Are there any cross-border National Parks?
Yes, two national parks in Austria extend over several regional states: the Hohe Tauern National Park has sections in Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol. The Donau-Auen National Park is protected in the provinces of Vienna and Lower Austria.
In addition, there are two protected areas, the Thayatal National Park and Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park, which ensure the international conservation of living environments in close cooperation with partner National Parks (Národní Park Podyjí in Czech Republic as partner of the Thayatal National Park and Fertö-Hanság National Park in Hungary as partner of the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park).
What is the difference between a National Park and a Nature Reserve?
Nature is allowed to simply be nature in National Parks. Commercial use (e.g. through hunting or forestry) is largely excluded. Process conservation forms the guideline for the concept of conservation and guarantees the lowest possible human intervention with the most distinctive natural dynamics. Returning the landscape to wilderness is explicitly promoted in National Parks worldwide recognized by the IUCN.
Sustainable use takes priority in Nature Reserves. The concept of nature conservation is combined with commercial and social factors here. Nature Reserves therefore provide an opportunity to offer strong protection to landscapes dominated by human influences. The acceleration of natural processes and return to the wilderness do not form part of funding objectives. There are many animal and plant species that benefit from this sort of landscape. Just like others species depend on a wilder enviroment and natural landscape in order to survive. Therfore Nature Reserves also make an important contribution to species conservation.
The fact that a variety of protected areas exists is definitely welcome. This is the only way in which diverse habitats can be protected.
How are decisions taken on which regions become National Parks?
Austrian National Parks place Austria’s most important natural landscapes under protection. The spectrum ranges from steppe lakes through mountain pasture and forest landscapes to Alpine and high-Alpine mountain regions. Whether a region can be designated as a National Park depends in particular on its biodiversity and unspoilt nature. Furthermore, the area must be a specific size in order to be recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN (under category II).
What is the IUCN?
The IUCN is the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, which was founded in 1948 and consists of countries, government agencies and a series of different non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This global partnership includes 800 members from 125 countries around the world. The objective of the IUCN is to enhance the social recognition of our valuable nature and prevent careless handling of ecological resources and biodiversity. The six Austrian National Parks are protected areas recognised by the IUCN.
What are endemic species?
Animals and plants are described as endemic (ancient Greek for: native) if they only appear in a specific, geographically limited region. The term is primarily used for species, which are only widespread in one very small area around the world (for example a mountain, valley, island or one single source). The Northern Limestone Alps are Austria’s “endemic hotspot”: relict species from the Ice Age primarily constitute the endemic flora and fauna here.
Those species with a distribution range of at least 75% on Austrian national territory are referred to as sub-endemic.