The 4,875 ha Hainich WILDForest is embedded into the Hainich National Park, Germany. The Hainich National Park was founded in 1997, as the 13th national park in Germany and the only one in Thuringia. Over 90% of Hainich National Park is not in economic use, where nature is returning to its roots. In contrast to economic forests, the woodland in Hainich WILDForest may develop back, untouched, into a primeval woodland in the heart of Germany, true to the motto of the German national parks “Let nature be nature”.
One of the main objectives of the park is the protection of native beech forest. Recently, the park was added to the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 4,875 ha Hainich WILDForest was subject of a Quick-Audit in 2017 and meets the Silver Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2018.
- Protected area: Hainich National Park
- WILDForest: Hainich WILDForest
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Silver
- Country: Germany
- Size of the protected area: 7,500 ha
- Size of the WILDForest: 4,875 ha, with potential of enlargement for additional 1,500 ha
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2017
- WILDForest Uniqueness: Large contiguous area of broadleaf and mixed forest
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 300,000
- Number of visitors per year to the WILDForest: approx. 20,000
In Hainich WILDForest people can find the largest contiguous deciduous forest in Germany, uninfluenced by mankind. It is not the typical German oak, but the beech tree that dominates here. An important source of biodiversity is the forest’s deadwood. Deadwood does not mean that there is no life in it, on the contrary. About one quarter of all forest inhabitants depend on deadwood for nesting places or food sources. Also bats often make their home under the peeling bark. The area is home to the wolf, lynx, wildcats and badgers, together with the roe and red deer as well as the black woodpecker, chaffinch and pied flycatcher.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
The Hainich WILDForest is offering wide spectrum of activities, including a Wilderness experience. A very special adventure is the Canopy Walk. The Canopy Walk winds along a length of 530 m from the lower crown section up to the tops of the primeval woodland canopies.
Besides the National Park Centre, the park offers programs like Wildcat Woodland for Kids, Primeval Woodland Wild Camp or walking and cycling tours.