Experiencing the silence of winter
For humans, winter means fun in the snow and enjoying nature. Not so for wildlife. Winter is a time of food shortage where the animals have to be extremely careful with their resources. They have developed sophisticated coping mechanisms: for example, they feed on fat reserves accumulated over the summer, build up food depots, reduce their activities and bodily functions or go into hibernation. But when the animals are disturbed by humans and exposed to stress, these strategies no longer work, and winter can become a fight for survival.
To ensure that wildlife has sufficient peace and quiet during this demanding time, the Nature Park Karwendel increasingly relies on visitor management. Sebastian Pilloni (nature park ranger): “If you stay on the paths and know the right spots, you will see much more than if you trudge across the forest. You’re not doing the animals or yourself any favours.”
Anton Larcher, head of the hunting association, explains some further rules of conduct: If you encounter wildlife, do not frighten or approach the animals, stay put and wait calmly until the animals have left. Also, visitors should refrain from well-intentioned feeding. The animals have adapted their digestive system to winter food such as old grass and needles, while increased intake of carbohydrates such as bread leads to severe digestive problems. Feeding stations which are usually signposted should also be avoided. As long as outdoor enthusiasts stay on the designated paths, the head of the hunting association doesn’t see a problem.
Snowshoeing at Lake Achensee
In the past, snowshoes were indispensable tools for travelling through the snow. Over the years, snowshoes have developed into trendy sports equipment pieces, but beware: Snowshoeing involves potential risks and visitors are well advised to follow the rules. Tour preparation, the right equipment and the proper conduct to protect nature and wildlife are essential. Click here to view selected snowshoeing routes at Lake Achensee.