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Guests at the NP expansion, (c) Niko Polner

Gesäuse National Park to be expanded

Media info 27 October 2023


Gesäuse National Park to be expanded: 113 hectares more for biodiversity!


The Ministry of Climate Protection and the Province of Styria create the conditions for this / ÖBB contributes its area to the National Park


The Gesäuse National Park in Styria is one of the last large contiguous natural landscapes with wild forests and waters in Central Europe, making it one of Austria's most valuable natural treasures. Now the National Park - on its 21st birthday - is being expanded!

This was announced on 27 October 2023 by Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler, Styrian State Councillors Ursula Lackner (Environment) and Simone Schmiedtbauer (Agriculture & Forestry), ÖBB Infrastructure Director Judith Engel and National Park Director Herbert Wölger at the National Park Pavilion in Gstatterboden.

By concluding a contract with ÖBB, a total of 113 hectares will be included in the Gesäuse National Park. These are two areas in the interior of the National Park: Hartelsgraben (41.4 hectares) and Bruckstein (71.5 hectares). The inclusion of these areas improves the ecological continuum in the Gesäuse National Park and establishes the unity of the area. This is a gain for ecology.

The expansion of Austria's national parks is laid down in the government programme. The Ministry of Climate Protection is now creating the conditions for this together with the province of Styria.


Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler: "We now know and feel that our climate is undergoing massive change. Hand in hand with the climate crisis goes a biodiversity crisis that is causing the loss of species. We have to stop this. With the expansion of the Gesäuse National Park, we are strengthening biodiversity and protecting a valuable natural area of our country. I would like to thank everyone who has helped us to celebrate this expansion of the Gesäuse National Park together today. This is nature conservation in action!


Provincial Councillor Ursula Lackner: "Nature conservation is also always the protection of people! Because the unique natural landscapes in Styria are not only beautiful, but also ensure the survival of many species from the plant or animal kingdom. They thus form the foundation for a functioning ecosystem and a healthy basis of life for us humans. Already 46 per cent of the total area of the province is protected - with the expansion of the national park, further important areas will be added."


State Councillor Simone Schmiedtbauer: "I am pleased that the Gesäuse National Park continues to grow as a unique Styrian natural landscape. As a landowner, the Styrian Provincial Forests have been a strong partner of the National Park from the very beginning and are actively involved in natural area management. I would like to thank those responsible at ÖBB that today around 113 hectares of land can be newly included in the "national park family"."


ÖBB Infrastructure Director Judith Engel: "With these approximately 113 hectares, which ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG is contributing with this contract, the ecological continuum will be improved, as these 113 hectares are located inside the national park and are surrounded by national park. The national park becomes complete and no longer has any "white spots". This contract is a clear statement by ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG. It is a commitment to nature conservation and strengthens ÖBB's status as the most environmentally friendly company. Not only is rail travel itself environmentally friendly, but ÖBB as a company also shows a willingness to commit to a healthy environment and nature conservation."


National Park Director Herbert Wölger: "We are incredibly happy after years of trying to find the mutual trust to close these white spots inside the national park."


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