The Alpine Association Austria, nature lovers and WWF are strong in the preservation of alpine open spaces. They demand a stop to the planned construction of untouched Tyrolean glaciers for mass tourism in the Pitztal-Ötztal region.
The alliance consisting of Alpine Association, nature lovers and WWF Austria, calls for a stop for the planned mega-project "Ski area expansion and merger Pitztal-Ötztal". At a press conference in Innsbruck, the local Alpine and nature conservation associations criticize the ecological short-sightedness of the project plans. With the left Fernerkogel and the glaciers Karlesferner, Hanging further and Mittelbergferner would be destroyed in favor of mass tourism, a completely original and intact high mountain landscape finally. Therefore, the Alliance calls for the immediate stop of the project and instead the integration of the Left Fernerkogel into the adjacent rest area "Ötztaler Alpen".
Less and less natural and undeveloped areas
Only seven percent of Austria's territory today is largely natural and undeveloped. But the use and development pressure on these particularly valuable, last alpine open spaces is greater than ever.
"The installation of pristine glacier wilderness with energy-consuming infrastructure is emblematic of Austria's failed climate and environmental policy: Instead of holistically looking at the major challenges of our time - climate crisis, biodiversity crisis and surface pollution - and at all levels, there is a negligent shortsightedness on the part of the decision makers."Josef cabinet, Alpine protection expert from WWF Austria
“For prestige projects such as the Pitztal-Ötztal glacier construction, precious landscape will be destroyed forever. Instead, the tourism industry would have to rely on nature-friendly models for a long time, ”says WWF expert cabinet.
The dredging and paving of a reservoir, the construction of buildings, cable cars, paths and slopes would inevitably mean the total loss of valuable alpine habitats. For the construction of the mountain station even a summit would be removed. Water drains for technical snowmaking, crossings and laying threaten to worsen the condition of natural waters.
Facts about Glacier Pitztal-Ötztal
- Four cable cars
- Three-level cable car center (over 15.000 m2 usable area)
- Restaurants and Bars (capacity for 1.600 guests)
- Trafficable tunnel (600 m length, 7 m diameter)
- Asphalted reservoir pond (104.000 m3)
- Additional snow-making system
- More than four kilometers of roads and paths
- Planing, covering, removal of 72 ha grown glacier
- Foot loop of a mountain ridge on the left remote to 40 altitude and 120.000 m3
Habitats will be destroyed in the long term
Due to the extreme altitude, a complete regeneration of such habitats is not possible from the planned interventions.
“It is incomprehensible why such destruction is accepted. The glaciers are melting away from under our feet. At the same time, pristine rivers are used to make snow on glacier ski areas and reservoirs are built. "Robert Renzler, Secretary General Austrian Alpine Club
Without comprehensive climate protection measures and further increasing global warming, all glaciers in the Alps could have largely disappeared by 2100. Therefore, instead of new tourist infrastructure, more comprehensive protection for alpine regions is needed, write the associations.
Remove glacier ice for obstruction
The Pitztal-Ötztal glacier complex plans to level and plan an area of approximately 90 football fields (64 hectares) on wild, rugged glacier landscape to form ski slopes. For the construction of new buildings, two football fields (1,6 hectares) are to be removed from glacial ice.
"We have to stop this erosion of the alpine area: glaciers play an essential role in the water balance of alpine regions, are water reservoirs and unique natural treasures."Leopold Füreder, Chairman Naturfreunde Tirol
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Credits: Titelbild WWF