More cars and tourists: Concerns about national park expansion

opinion poll
More cars and tourists: Concerns about national park expansion

Visitor Center in the Black Forest National Park

Two visitors stand on the viewing platform of the visitor center of the Black Forest National Park. Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa/archive image

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Dung beetles, three-toed woodpeckers, roof fungi: more than 7,000 species crawl and crawl in the Black Forest National Park. This is to be expanded. Before that, citizens were surveyed: in the region as well as in the rest of the country – which makes a clear difference.

Some people in the region around the Black Forest National Park are quite skeptical about its planned expansion. In a survey commissioned by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, 21 percent of them indicated increasing tourism as a possible risk. In the open-ended survey, 14 percent named adverse changes in the environment, and 12 percent named traffic problems.

The concerns are less pronounced in the responses from all over Baden-Württemberg. Although an increase in tourism and adverse environmental changes are also far ahead here, they were only named by ten percent of those surveyed. Only two percent see traffic problems nationwide. In both cases, however, just over a fifth of those surveyed assume that there are no risks associated with further development.

Again, tourism is for many an argument for expansion – after nature and environmental protection. 31 percent of those who took part in the Forsa survey from the national park region see its expansion as an attraction for tourists. In relation to the whole country it was 20 percent. Almost a third (32 percent) of the participants from the neighboring communities are interested in helping to shape the further development process. Nationally, it’s only 18 percent.

The ministry wants to further develop the protected area established in 2014 in terms of content and space. The main question here is how the two sub-areas that make up the approximately 10,000 hectare area can become a large whole. This is necessary in order to better achieve the protection goals formulated in the National Park Act.

The forest is not managed in this region, but left to its own devices. More than 7,100 species have been recorded there, according to earlier information from the ministry, including 3,127 insects, 1,527 fungi and one species of fish. Before the national park was founded, there had been discussions about a possible danger from bark beetles.

“We are pleased that there is great interest, especially in the region and among young people, to participate in the process of further development,” said National Park Manager Thomas Waldenspuhl according to the announcement. According to the wishes of the citizens, there will be different possibilities for this.

Interested parties should be able to submit ideas, among other things, on the website www.nationalpark-schwarzwald-im-dialog.de from Friday. A citizens’ forum is to discuss the opportunities and risks; The state government should receive recommendations next spring.

Secretary of State for the Environment Andre Baumann (Greens) said: “The survey shows that the national park has arrived in Baden-Württemberg.” A third of the people in the country have already visited him, and even more than three quarters of the people from the region. “But the survey also gave us valuable tips on what we should pay particular attention to when developing further,” said Baumann, referring to the risks mentioned. “We take all of this very seriously.”

dpa

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