The 250 ha Thayatal WILDForest 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 WILDForest is characterised by extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as rocky amphitheatres, cliffs and broadleaf mixed forest. The Thayatal WILDForest is and has been the key element and driving force behind the establishment of the transboundary Wilderness of the Podyjí National Park in Czech Republic and Thayatal National Park in Austria.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 250 ha Thayatal WILDForest was subjected to a Quick-Audit in summer 2017 and in June 2018 and meets the Bronze WILDForest 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.
- Protected area: Thayatal National Park
- Wilderness: Thayatal WILDForest
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
- Country: Austria
- Size of the protected area: 1 360 ha
- Size of the WILDForest: 250 ha
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2018
- Wilderness Uniqueness: Well-protected area of mixed deciduous forests in the Pannonia lowland, left to spontaneous development
- Number of visitors per year to the National Park: approx. 50 000
- Number of visitors per year to WILDForest: There is no public access to the Thayatal Wilderness
The territory of Thayatal National Park has a very high biodiversity. There are several hundred species of vascular plants, 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 WILDForest 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.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
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 WILDForest 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 WILDForest 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 WILDForest Thayatal National Park Address street: Nationalparkhaus Postal code city: 2082 Hardegg, Austria Phone: 00 43 2949 70050 Website: www.np-thayatal.at/en