Karwendel Alpine Park
Karwendel Alpine Park begins on the western banks of Achensee and is the biggest interconnected protected area in the Northern Limestone Alps which, at 920 square metres in total, extends as far as Bavaria.
The area extends from 591 to 2749 metres altitude. Its surface area is made up of protected areas, landscape conservation areas and sanctuaries which are protected under the Tyrolean Nature Conservation Act.
The first provisions to protect this primeval Alpine landscape, which is the only of its kind in Europe, were issued in 1928. In 1995 the European Commission announced that Karwendel Alpine Park was to be included in the Natura 2000 area. The objective of this managed system of protected areas is to safeguard the variety of species by maintaining natural habitats and also the plants and animals which live in the wild, and in so doing simultaneously respect economic, cultural and regional requirements.
Hikers can roam through pristine valleys for hours on end with chamois and ibex; observe marmots, deer and hares, while birds of prey such as buzzards, glide through the air.
In Karwendel Alpine Park holidaymakers get the opportunity to let the seclusion of the mountains and being beyond the beaten path, wash over them – yet they can also enjoy the pleasant infrastructure which the managed Alpine pastures and Alpine lodges have to offer.
Details about Karwendel Alpine Park:
- 350 springs
- 1305 plant species
- 3035 well-known animal species
- The largest concentration of Golden Eagles in the Alps
- Surface area – 920km² (of which 727km² is in Austria, the rest in Bavaria)
- Management – 101 Alpine pastures with around 10,000 hectares foraging area
- Altitude: 600 to 2749 metres (the Birkkarspitze)
The Golden Nail in Karwendel Alpine Park
Around 200 million years ago a huge change took place in the natural surroundings, the plant and animal kingdom underwent considerable changes and there was max extinction globally. This signified the end of the Triassic geological era and the start of the Jurassic era. This transition is still visible in many areas of rock. It is especially visible on the Kuhjoch in Alpenpark Karwendel. It was at this site in the summer of 2011 that an oversized golden nail was driven in.
In technical geology jargon this golden nail is called the ‘Golden Spike’. These ‘Golden Spikes’ are already located at 60 sites all over the world, however this is the first one in Austria.
After more than 20 years of intense research, the international committee from UNESCO chose the “Golden Spike”on the Kuhjoch, at 1760 altitude, as the boundary of the two geological eras, (coordinates: N 47°29’01,82” / E11°31’47,44”). The boundary between the Triassic and the Jurassic era denotes, with an accuracy of within a centimetre, the first occurrence of the ammonite species Psiloceras spelae tirolicum. The Kuhjoch was the area favoured for the occurrence of the above-mentioned ammonite and for other advantages, over rivals in Nevada, Peru and England. This bestowed a very special distinction upon Austria geologists, since this site is now regarded as the global reference point for all geological research referring to the transition between the Triassic and Jurassic geological eras.
However, it is very difficult for visitors to Karwendel Alpine Park to access this special natural phenomenon, which is why the entire park will in future bring increasing attention to the region’s geological treasures, and an area is to be set up in the Naturparkhaus in Hinteriss to deal with this topic in spring 2012.
Verein Alpenpark Karwendel
6060 Hall in Tirol
You can find more information about the Karwendel Alpine Park on www.karwendel.org