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No ski-lift connection permitted in nature reserve

The Warscheneck is one of Europe’s most impressive karst landscapes – the northern section, pictured here, has been a protected natural area since 2008. © R. Mayr

The Federal State of Upper Austria gave its legal opinion on the expansion of the “Höss-Wurzeralm” ski area in April. The matter is now on file.

The development project in the “Warscheneck-Nord” nature reserve in Upper Austria was intended to connect the two ski areas of Höss and Wurzeralm by means of lifts and ski runs. Plans have existed for a long time: in 2011 the legal service centre of the Alpine Convention in CIPRA Austria gave a negative opinion, stating that the development could not go ahead owing to international agreements – such as the nature conservation protocol of the Alpine Convention – that Austria had ratified. The project planners did not give up, however, and wanted to establish whether it was legally permissible to construct a cable car to traverse the nature reserve. A further opinion from the legal service centre at CIPRA Austria and a legal opinion given by the University of Linz on behalf of the Federal State of Upper Austria, presented in April by the Councillor for Conservation Affairs, Mr Haimbuchner and the Councillor for Economic Affairs, Mr Strugel, have now clearly confirmed the opinion of the legal service centre. Such clarity means that the region can address the alternatives, bringing conservation and economic matters under one roof.

The “Warscheneck” case is part of the “Protected Areas in Transition” map of Alpine flashpoints in terms of nature protection. It was produced as part of the “alpMonitor” project and highlights the endangered protected areas in the Alps.

 

Sources and further information:

www.cipra.org/en/cipra/austria , www.cipra.org/de/alpmonitor/natur-und-mensch (de, fr, it, sl)