High Tauern National Park

       
High Tauern National Park

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Along 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the main chain stretches the High Tauern National Park (Nationalpark Hohe Tauern), to which the Austrian Alpine Club as freeholder and the three states of Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol have contributed territory. With an area of about 1,834 square kilometres (708 sq mi), it is by far the largest of Austria's seven national parks as well as the largest nature reserve in the Alps. It is divided into a core zone including the Grossglockner and Grossvenediger massifs, with complete prohibition of agricultural use, and a fringe zone used for forestry and alpine-meadow farming. Five special nature sanctuaries are protected from any human disturbance.

The park of the IUCN II category comprises the Pasterze and numerous further glaciers, the Krimml Waterfalls, several glacial valleys and alluvial fans, as well as extended tundra areas and forests. Among the flora of the Alps, especially Swiss Pines grow along the tree line; above subshrub, mainly alpenrose but also the endemic saxifraga rudolphiana, up to nival level at about 2,800 m (9,200 ft). The fauna includes chamois, Alpine ibex and red deer, as well as griffon vulture and the golden eagle. The former extinct bearded vulture and the Alpine marmot have been successfully reintroduced.
The park was established according to a 1971 declaration signed by the participating states at Heiligenblut, it nevertheless took until 1981, when the first parts around Großglockner and Hochschober in Carinthia were put under protection. The adjacent area in Salzburg followed two years later, and Tyrol finally joined in 1992. Tourism only increased marginally since the creation of the national park, but has become less harmful to the environment. A particular emphasis is put on environmental protection and the maintenance of traditional ways of life in the Alps.
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