The 250 ha Thayatal Wilderness is embedded in the Thayatal National Park, Austria. It is Austria’s smallest National Park, located in the north-eastern part of the country, at the border with Podyjí National Park in the Czech Republic. Thayatal National Park – one of the last near-natural valleys in Central Europe – was established in the year 2000. The name Thayatal can be translated into the ‘valley of the Thaya river’, which is an impressive valley with steep cliffs, dense broadleaf forests and valuable fragments ecosystems. The Thayatal Wilderness is characterised by extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as rocky amphitheatres, cliffs and broadleaf mixed forest. The Thayatal Wilderness is and has been the key element and driving force behind the establishment of the transboundary Wilderness of the Podyjí National Park in Czech Republicand Thayatal National Park in Austria.
The 250 ha Thayatal Wilderness was subjected to a Quick-Audit in summer 2017 and in June 2018 and meet the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. The Thayatal National Park and the Podyjí National Park together with the European Wilderness Society will consider the opportunity to implement a European Wilderness Quality Standard Full Audit and create the first Transboundary Wilderness in the Central Europe in the coming years.
The territory of Thayatal National Park has a very high biodiversity. There are several hundreds of vascular plant species, fungi, lichens, mosses, birds and mammals. There is a rich variety of forest types, such as oak and hornbeam-oak forests, relict pine forests, spring alluviums alder forest, and the native beech forests in the higher parts of the National Park. The Thayatal Wilderness is located in an impressive valley with steep cliffs, gentle meadows, natural forests and fascinating flora and fauna. The area is located on a distinct climatic border where continental and Central European flora and fauna come together. A significant part of the area is covered with forests, of which a considerable percentage is currently left to spontaneous development. The aim in the coming years is to let 75%-85% of Thayatal National Park develop under spontaneous succession and to protect spontaneous dynamics of biodiversity.
The Thayatal National Park lies in a very densely populated area with good transport accessibility, 95 km from Vienna and 220 km from Prague. The park itself is not accessible for cars, but is accessible by a network of marked trails for pedestrians. Only the city of Hardegg, which is situated in the centre of the National Park is accessible by bike or car. The trails lead around the Thayatal Wilderness, therefore the character of the area can be seen from several attractive sightseeing points. A system of information panels in the field outside of the Wilderness provides the visitors with valuable information about the area. Additionally, there are trails that lead along parts of the Thaya river, which provide several sightseeing points to view the character of the river. Thayatal Wilderness is not accessible for tourists, but a network of trails enables visitors to discover and experience the surrounding Thayatal forest and river, which also have a wild character.
Thayatal National Park
Address street: Nationalparkhaus
Postal code city: 2082 Hardegg, Austria
Phone: 00 43 2949 70050
The Fulufjället Wilderness is embedded in Fulufjället National Park, Sweden. Located at the border with Norway, Fulufjället Wilderness is a virtually untouched Scandinavian nature area. Fulufjället Wilderness is named after the mountain Fulufjället that is 1,044 m high. It covers the Swedish part of the Fulufjället massif, which is the southernmost part of the Scandes in Sweden. The Norwegian part of the massif is protected by Norway’s Fulufjället National Park.
The Teiču Wilderness is embedded into the Teiču Strict Nature Reserve. Teiču Reserve is the largest nature reserve in Latvia and it is one of the largest areas of intact bog moss in the Baltic. Teiču Wilderness protects a large complex, representing valuable ecosystems of wetlands and forest. Teiču Wilderness is one of four strict nature reserves in Latvia and is well known due to the high species diversity.
The Synevyr Wilderness is embedded in the Synevyr National Nature Park, Ukraine. Synevyr Wilderness preserves large areas of unique old-growth broadleaf and conifer forest and a natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes. The Synevyr National Nature Park has good potential to expand Synevyr Wilderness. The Synevyr Wilderness has no roads and is without any management intervention.
Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness
The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness is part of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The area preserves the largest area of unique old-growth beech forest of Europe and the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes. Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness represent an outstanding example of undisturbed temperate beech forests and provides a sample of the pure stands of European beech.
The Podyjí Wilderness is embedded in the Podyjí National Park, Czech Republic. It is the smallest National Park in the Czech Republic and located in the south-eastern part of the country, at the border with Thayatal National Park in Austria. Podyjí National Park has a good potential for expansion of Wilderness. A significant part of the Podyjí National Park is covered with forests and considerable percentage is currently left to spontaneous development.
The Gorgany Wilderness is part of the Gorgany Nature Reserve. This area preserves the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes, typical natural complexes, unique primeval beech forests, and in particular forest with Swiss pine (Pinus cembra).
The Hoverla Wilderness is part of Carpathian National Nature Park. The area preserves the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes and large complexes of unique mixed and conifer forests with presence of the large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx). Carpathian National Nature Park includes 3 large Wilderness, which qualify to become a member of European Wilderness Network: Hoverla Wilderness, Pip Ivan Wilderness and Siniak Wilderness.
Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness
The Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness is embedded in the Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park, Ukraine. Ukraine contains excellent examples of Wilderness. Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness preserves the natural state of the beech forest in the central part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains and is committed to protect self-regulated natural processes for several years.
The Soomaa Wilderness is embedded into the Soomaa National Park, located in the south-eastern corner of Estonia. Soomaa Wilderness consist of four large peat-bogs: Kuresoo, Valgeraba, Ordi and Kikerpera. The bogs are separated from each other by the Pärnu, Halliste, Navesti, Raudna, Lemmjõgi, and Kõpu rivers. Alongside these rivers, floodplain meadows and floodplain forests occur.
The Rila Wilderness is embedded in the Rila National Park, the largest national park in Bulgaria. The park is located in the south-western part of the country. Rila Wilderness is one of the largest and most valuable Wilderness areas in Europe. It includes four large Wilderness areas – Parangalica, Central Rila Reserve, Ibar and Skakavitsa. Rila Wilderness covers a large part of the Rila mountain range with high peaks, deep valleys, forests and mountain pastures.
The Retezat Wilderness is embedded in the Retezat National Park, the oldest national park in Romania. The Retezat Wilderness protects one of the last remaining pristine part of Carpathian Mountains and is also an important model to protect Wilderness all over the Carpathians. The Gemenele (“The Twins” in Romanian) is a scientific reserve containing the strictly protected Retezat Wilderness already for several decades. This Retezat Wilderness is protecting an intact primeval forest and landscape modelling by glaciers in the past.
The Peneda-Gerês Wilderness is embedded into the Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal. The Peneda-Gerês National Park was created in 1971 due to its national and international scientific values, with the aim to protect the existing human and natural resources. Since the Peneda-Gerês National Park was established in 1971, it was acknowledged as the wildest area of Portugal.
The Paanajärvi Wilderness is embedded in the Paanajärvi National Park, Russia. Paanajärvi Wilderness is located right at the Arctic Circle and preserves the representative examples of natural values of the whole Karelia region, at the Finnish–Russian border. The boreal forests with lakes reach into far horizons with no sign of human presence, any roads or towns. The Paanajärvi Wilderness and Olanga WILDRiver create a great example of pristine and remote Wilderness.
The 12 924 ha Oulanka Wilderness is embedded in the Oulanka National Park, Finland. The Oulanka National Park is located close to the Arctic Circle at the border with Russia. The park is traversed by two large rivers flowing east, the Rivers Oulankajoki and Kitkajoki with several tributaries, such as the Rivers Maaninkajoki and Savinajoki. Oulanka Wilderness is separated in three sections by the management, which are not ecologically fragmented: Border Zone (2 200 ha), Main Section (10 724 ha), and Sukerijärvi (2 103 ha).
Oulanka Wilderness is located in a Reindeer Husbandry Area. The traditional Finnish concept of everyman’s right and reindeer husbandry significantly impacted the identification of the Wilderness in Oulanka National Park. The everyman’s right concept allows free right of access to the land and waterways, and the right to collect natural products such as wild berries and mushrooms, no matter who owns the land. These rights also generally apply to foreign citizens. The overall frame of everyman’s right is that all actions must be harmless to nature and landowner. In 2007, the Oulanka Wilderness Program identified the Oulanka Wilderness, fitting to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and guaranteed an ecological link with Paanajärvi Wilderness at the Russian side of border.
The 12 924 ha Oulanka Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2012 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.
Oulanka is full of versatile and demanding plant species and partly due to calcium-rich bedrock there are many rare species. The difference in temperature between the high rising fells and low river valleys make an ideal environment for several rare plants like the park’s emblem: the calypso. Another threatened plant, but common in this area is silene or lady’s-slipper. In Oulanka’s meadows, you may catch a glimpse of the endangered Copper Violet Butterfly. Riverbeds and alluvial meadows are home to rare butterflies and 100 bird species nest in the park. Rare birds like the Siberian Jay and the Capercaillie also take refuge in these herb-rich forests. The area hosts several large herbivores like the moose and the half-tame reindeer. Smaller mammals are also typical in the area. Of the large carnivores, the bear inhabits Oulanka National Park. The wolf, wolverine and lynx, however, are quite rare. In the Wilderness, the golden eagle and the white-tailed eagle are common.
Attractions that offer unforgettable experiences in unspoilt Oulanka Wilderness play a vital role in the context of increases in nature tourism, summer tourism, and the importance of European Wilderness. Discover the boreal forests alone or with a group and find yourself amazed by it pure beauty. The Russian frontier runs along the eastern edge of Oulanka National Park, and just over the border lies the Russia’s Paanajärvi National Park, representing huge potential for cross-border nature tourism. Oulanka National Park already collaborates closely with its twin park Paanajärvi.
Address street: Oulangan luontokeskus, Liikasenvaarantie 132
Postal code city: 93900, Kuusamo, Finland
Phone: +358 206 39 6850
The Majella Wilderness is embedded into the Majella National Park, Italy. The Majella Wilderness is home to an amazingly large and rich Wilderness. It is including the most inaccessible and wildest area of the Central Apennine.
The Küre Wilderness is embedded in the Küre Mountains National Park, located in northern Turkey. The park stretches over the mountain range of Küre Mountains and is extend over the Kastamonu and Bartin Province. The Küre Wilderness is well-known in Turkey because of its intact forests, wildlife, endemic plant species, caves, canyons, and waterfalls. The Küre Wilderness is also globally important for nature conservation. It is one of the 9 forest hot spots in Turkey with its natural values, Wilderness, geological features, landscape and cultural values.
Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness
The Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness is a large coherent nature conservation area, which provides good conditions for a re-naturalization of previous military training grounds with a potential to become a prime Wilderness in Germany. The Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness has not actively been managed for more than 15 years. It provides a unique experience of natural spontaneous dynamics and implementation of non-intervention management.
The Kalkalpen Wilderness is embedded in the Kalkalpen National Park, Austria. Kalkalpen National Park is a large protected area, located in the north-eastern Limestone Alps in Upper Austria. Kalkalpen Wilderness features the largest forest region in central Europe and the largest karst in Austria. It is a colourful mosaic consisting of pristine forests, hidden gorges and untouched mountain streams.
Hohe Tauern Wilderness
The Hohe Tauern Wilderness is located in the south-western part of National Park Hohe Tauern, Salzburg. The Hohe Tauern Wilderness is a landscape as it used to be all over the Alps after the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. It is a large contiguous piece of Wilderness and it includes several important habitats types, such as abandoned alpine pastures, bare rocks, glaciers and freshly exposed land after glacier retreat.
The Čepkeliai Wilderness is embedded in the Dzūkija National Park and Čepkeliai Strict Nature Reserve, Lithuania. Čepkeliai Wilderness is the largest contiguous piece of Wilderness in Lithuania consisting of two areas: Čepkeliai and Musteika Strict Nature Reserves. It is located in the south-eastern corner of Lithuania and forms one ecological complex, representing the most valuable ecosystems of wetlands and surrounding forests, at the border with Belarus.
The Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness is embedded in the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Georgia. It is a extensive mountain area of Lesser Caucasus with conifer and evergreen old-growth forest, high number of rare and endemic species such as bear, wolf, imperial eagle. The Wilderness provides a wide spectrum of unique and dynamic ecosystems.
Central Balkan Wilderness
The 20,019 ha Central Balkan Wilderness is embedded in the Central Balkan National Park, Bulgaria. Central Balkan Wilderness is covering 28% of park territory and consist of the following 9 strict nature reserves: Boatin, Tsarichina, Kozya Stena, Steneto, Severen Dzendem, Peesti, Sokolna, Dzendema and Stara Reka. In Central Balkan Wilderness, a non-intervention management is applied as the underlying principle for Wilderness stewardship.