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Natura Trail Bohemian Forest/Šumava officially opened by Karl Frais
Photo: IFN

On 4. July 2008, the first cross-border Natura Trail in the Bohemian Forest was officially opened by Karl Frais, Member of the Parliament in Upper Austria and chairman of the Austrian Friends of Nature, at the border triangle Austrian/Czech Republic/Germany. The hiking trail through the varied forestall countryside was described in detail by the Friends-of-Nature team in cooperation with the Šumava National Park, the Tourism Association Bohemian Forest, the Youth Association for the Protection of Nature Haslach and the “Böhmerwaldschule”

Karl Frais emphasised the importance of the first border-crossing Natura Trail in his opening speech: Where the Iron Curtain once was an insurmountable border, regions now get closer and closer and make joint efforts for the preservation of the countryside and a sustainable regional development. "A landscape with bonding force!" is reminiscent of the motto of the Landscape of the Year Bohemian Forest/Šumava – as proclaimed by the International Friends of Nature in 1999/2000. Already at that time numerous initiatives were taken to promote a sustainable development and sound tourism in the region. The Natura Trail Bohemian Forest/Šumava aims to contribute to that.

The Natura Trail starts at the at the Austrian/Czech Republic/Germany borderland at Oberschwarzenberg, across the Natura 2000 area Bohemian Forest into the Šumava National Park. Wide forests, fields of rocks and the Lake Plöckensteiner make an impressive backdrop and are habitat to a varied flora and fauna. Numerous animal species that can hardly still be found in Central Europe leave their marks here, like the lynx or the small birch mouse that spends most of the year sleeping. On the Czech side of the forests ridge primeval forests are located with several hundred year old spruces, habitat to endangered species of birds like the three-toed woodpecker or the tengmalm's owl.

A coloured booklet – available in German and Czech – is the guidepost and describes the characteristically flora and fauna, the wide fields of rock and the development of the wilderness in the Šumava National Park.

Europe-wide Natura Trail network emerges
Embedded into a European Natura Trail network, 17 Natura Trails give access to protected areas in Austria. They promote the experience of the local flora and fauna habitats and raise the awareness for the protection of nature and landscape. At the same time they contribute to a sustainable regional development as an environmentally friendly tourism offer.



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