Environment-friendly ski touring, Berchtesgaden, Germany

Ski touring and snowshoeing have become increasingly popular winter sports in recent years, offering an experience of the winter landscape off the pathways and pistes. However, they take sportspersons into the refuge areas of wild animals, which are highly sensitive to disturbance in winter.

© Christian Schneider
© Christian Schneider
Example from Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany

In Berchtesgaden National Park, in consultation with the Alpine associations, the National Park administration clears six traditional ski tour routes through the woods on a regular basis as guidance for winter sportspeople. The aim is to prevent any extension of ski touring in terms of area, the number of hours per day or in intensity. In order to concentrate the spatial use of the protected area and to protect the tranquillity of the wildlife’s rest and retreat areas, only the routes described in pertinent guide literature should be taken.

In addition, the German Alpine Association’s (DAV) project “Environmentally Friendly Ski Touring” was also applied to the National Park region. The project’s goal is to implement ski touring in a compatible and sustainable way with nature. Thanks to the routing, sensitive wildlife habitats - in particular that of the grouse – should be affected as little as possible.

For critically sensitive zones, the German Alpine Association publishes information for touring skiers regarding recommended routes (this includes demarcation of sensitive areas, waymarking, and information boards and maps at car parks). Efforts are also being made to promote cooperation with the authors and publishers of guidebooks. All the relevant authorities and associations (forestry offices and rural county offices, mountain rescue services, the Association for the Protection of Nature in Bavaria (BN), the Bavarian Society for the Protection of Birds (LBV), the German Ski Association (DSV), the Bavarian Hunting Association, the Bavarian Farmers' Association, the Association for the Protection of Mountains (Verein zum Schutz der Bergwelt), International Friends of Nature, etc.) are involved in this joint initiative, which is also accompanied by scientific studies on the topic “Disturbance of wild fauna by winter sportspersons”.

Balance

There has been a very positive response and acceptance of the measures among ski tourers, especially around the protected area. Positive impacts, especially on grouse populations, have been demonstrated in various areas, including the German uplands.

Further information

Measure

Trail concepts and visitor guidance for winter sports

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