Information panels provide information about the National Park's plants and animals. Summer and winter alike the Gesäuse National Park offers diverse activities which extend from the Enns valley to the highest reaches of the National Park. These areas are also habitats for many rare species of plants and animals, which is why we are concerned that leisure activities should also take nature into consideration.
Visitor management concept
The visitor management concept has been drawn up on the basis of VERP - The Visitor Experience and Resource Protection Framework (U.S. Department of the Interior - National Park Service 1997), which required adaptation to the statutory, regional and tourism principles in the Gesäuse National Park. The concept has also taken account of Natura 2000's stipulations and carried out a risk analysis for the protected resources.
Aims of visitor managementAccording to Section 2 of the Austrian National Parks Act (Nationalparkgesetz), and taking into account Natura 2000 stipulations, visitor management embraces three aims:
- Maintenance of the characteristic fauna and flora
- Maintenance of the favourable conservation status of habitats and species protected under Natura 2000
- The park as an educational and recreational experience for people.
Fundamental DataThe tourism fundamentals include information about the Gesäuse Alpine Region National Park (Alpenregion Nationalpark Gesäuse) tourism association, beds and overnight accommodation, forest huts, mountain huts and refuges, as well as infrastructure. The natural fundamentals include habitats and species protected under Natura 2000 and other resources.
The concept addresses visitor activities such as hiking, climbing, rafting and water sports, canyoning, water-based activities, angling, mushroom picking, horse riding, camping, caving, aviation sport and transport, as well as winter sports activities, such as skiing, snowshoe trekking, and sledging. Consideration has also been given to National Park programme excursions, visitor facilities and themed trails, events and practice of different types of sports on a commercial level.
Risk analysis of protected resources
The general risk to species and habitats was assessed in accordance with the precautionary principle because there has been no accurate data (e.g. trend in population numbers) on the conservation status of some species and habitats in the National Park or Natura 2000 region. There is also an absence of detailed information about the intensity of individual leisure activities and a lack of precise spatial analysis of problems caused by these activities.
It is primarily protected species and habitats in the Enns area which are at high risk of harm as a result of water sports and water-based recreational activities. Grouse are also subject to a high level of risk as a result of hiking (especially where dogs off the lead are concerned) and ski touring.