National parks are areas of outstanding natural beauty and, thus, worldwide attractions. In our Central European cultural landscapes this protective category is about distancing oneself from land use on at least 75% of the area. Without human impact our forests will change back into natural forests. Nature is shrinking in many places as a result of our human activity. At the same time there is parallel growing demand for intact, beautiful landscapes and “pristine” areas.
A National Park in Saxony? Can we afford it?
What is true for Central Europe, certainly applies to the Free State of Saxony, whose natural landscape has changed dramatically and almost everywhere due to mining, agriculture and industrialization since the late Middle Ages. Yet, there is still a piece of land that is worth being a national park!
The Saxon Switzerland National Park is the only national park in Saxony and the only rock national park in Germany.
It comprises two spatially separated, characteristic sections of the Saxon Elbe Sandstone Mountains with an area of 93.5 km2, equivalent to 0.5% of Saxony’s area, that should be preserved for future generations. One half of one percent of our habitat, in which nature is the boss, not humans.
In comparison, more than half of our country are meadows and fields, 12% of the land we claim for transport and buildings, of which one-third is for roads alone, with a rising tendency. So can we afford to continue to fully renounce land use in the National Park? Just watch, discover in awe? We invite you to visit the National Park and make up your own opinion! The staff of our National Park Watch are here to help you.
Protected areas in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
Our National Park is divided into three protection zones:
– Natural Zone A
– Natural Zone B
– The Buffer Zone
Independent of this there is a so-called core zone, which is marked by signs and was designated for the purpose of regulating recreational activities such as hiking.
Conservation Area belt
Together with the adjacent Saxon Switzerland Conservation Area the National Park forms the Saxon Switzerland National Park Region. A Saxon peculiarity representing an appreciation of the entire Saxon Switzerland.
The Conservation Areas of our Bohemian neighbors
Since 1972 the Elbe Sandstone Mountains Conservation Area (CHKO Labské pískovce) and since 2000 the Bohemian Switzerland National Park (Národní park České Švýcarsko) adjoin the German border so that the natural protection can be guaranteed across borders.