On a nature conservation scale from 1 to 5, national parks rank second while nature parks rank fifth. The uncontested first place is occupied by wilderness reserves, which are not open to the public. However, when it comes to living and working with nature, it’s without a doubt the national park that takes first place. In short: nature is the most important thing in the Gesäuse.
The rivers Enns and Salza are not only popular with rafting groups, they are also important habitats for many plants and animals. At the Visitor Centre Weidendom you can gain some great insight into these habitats. At the ‘micro theatre’ you can even look at the pumping heart of a water flea. Meanwhile, the wild river Salza and its the turquoise waters will make you feel as though you were in the Caribbean.
The Gesäuse doesn’t just offer spectacular mountain views – if you missed out on some biology classes in school, you’ll be able to catch up on them here, especially when it comes to geology. You can either visit the GeoZentrum Centre in Gams or you can discover the National park Pavilion in Gstatterboden, where geology is explained in an understandable and interesting way. UNESCO couldn’t agree more, which is why the organisation has taken the Geopark under its wings.
The Gesäuse is a true endemite hotspot. But who are these endemites? They are plants and animals that are unique to a defined geographic location. In Austria the Gesäuse ranks first when it comes to having the largest amount of rarities in one region. Sometimes they are quite inconspicuous. The graceful feathered pink however, which also happens to be the National Park’s emblematic flower, would easily win any beauty competition.
Now let’s turn to the forest. Creepy crawlies live side by side with hinds and capercaillies. On a guided tour you can find out more about the difference between a forest planation and a natural forest, about the phenomenon of endemites or about the impressive rut and courtship display of the capercaillies. So, as a visitor you will not only get the chance to listen to the woodpecker but you will also get the opportunity to look closely at what is going on out there in nature.