Bache mit Frischlingen, © Plachy Walter

What is a Nature Park?

Particularly beautiful natural and cultural landscapes have been awarded the title “nature park” here in Austria for over 50 years.

The activities of all Austrian nature parks, such as those of the VNÖ, are based on four pillars: conservation, recreation, education and regional development. All of these areas are promoted equally, which allows beautiful characteristic cultural landscapes and their biological diversity to be conserved and their value increased.

Conservation: The goal is to conserve the natural environment with all its diversity and beauty through sustainable use and to preserve the centuries-old cultural landscape through biodiversity projects, visitor guidance, contractual nature conservation (ÖPUL), conservation area maintenance and management, “gentle mobility”, natural history information and research projects.

Recreation: The goal is to offer attractive recreational facilities that are in harmony with the nature preserve and the landscape, such as hiking trails, places to rest and relax, playgrounds adapted to the natural environment and nature educators all with a family friendly atmosphere and accessible for everyone.

Education: The goal is to use interactive means to make learning about and experiencing nature, culture and their interrelationships more tangible in order to educate visitors on the importance of sustainable development. This is further achieved with the help of nature park schools and nature park kindergartens, themed trails, information points, centers and boards, guided nature park tours, information materials, seminars, courses, exhibitions, cultural landscape interrelations and corresponding educational offers, ongoing cooperation with research institutions, special offers for specific target groups, training and further education for nature park employees.

Regional development: The goal is to create impulses for regional development through the nature park in order to increase regional added value and ensure the quality of life through close cooperation between nature conservation, agriculture, tourism, trade and culture, socially and environmentally compatible tourism, nature park specialties according to defined criteria, jobs in the nature parks, nature park restaurants and marketing and information materials.