Our Nature Park Philosophy

Silence in the wood, © Waldviertel Tourismus

Nature Park Concept

Strategic approach based on the 4-pillar model

Only with clear, well-structured ideas and visions can upcoming tasks and challenges be managed in an optimal way.

A Nature Park is a man-made cultural landscape suitable for nature-based recreation and for teaching about nature and culture. It is neither a nature reserve nor a national park but a so-called landscape conservation area. Each Nature Park is located in a protected area, usually a landscape conservation area, and is an additional qualification for a specific landscape area. The characteristic cultural and natural landscape was created over the course of decades and centuries through the care and formation of the local population. The designation applies in a special way to the people who have created and still maintain this natural and cultural landscape through their careful way of life and management. This means that a Nature Park is not "pure nature" (like a national park), but the historical and cultural work of the inhabitants and farmers over the centuries - a cultural landscape, but one of particular aesthetic beauty - sometimes with a high ecological value. A Nature Park should contribute to the conscious and sustainable use of this landscape and to preserving its outstanding uniqueness.

The 4-Pillar Philosophy: Protection - Recreation - Education - Regional Development

The idea of a Nature Park is around fifty years old and is based on the four pillars of protection, education, recreation and regional development, which are equally developed in parallel and in conjunction with each other. The Nature Parks work according to the so-called 4-pillar model - protection, recreation, education and regional development - which has been made binding for all nature parks by the Association of Nature Parks of Austria (VNÖ). These four pillars are to be treated equally in project planning and implementation, with nature conservation as the very starting point. Through the equal ranking of all pillars, Nature Parks become model regions for sustainable development.

The Nature Park Concept as an instrument for implementing the 4-pillar model

In order to purposefully promote sustainable development in a Nature Park region, a plan is needed. As stipulated in the Nature Conservation Act of Lower Austria, a Nature Park must have a corresponding Nature Park Concept in order to define the complex interplay between natural landscape requirements, tourism concepts, educational goals and regional development. A Nature Park Concept serves as an instrument that defines goals on the basis of a survey of the current situation and an analysis of the park's own strengths and weaknesses, and defines appropriate measures to achieve these goals. A Lower Austrian Nature Park therefore needs a Nature Park Concept that includes and addresses the four pillars of the nature park model.

Our Naturpark Concept

The Nature Park Concept for the Nordwald Nature Park approved in March 2020 reflects the intensive and ambitious efforts of the local decision-makers and its supporting association to best equip the Nature Park for upcoming challenges from a somewhat difficult starting position.