GNF - Kalkalpen National Park - Austria

Kalkalpen National Park – Austria

Kalkalpen National Park protects the last big forest wilderness of Austria, with the longest natural stream system in the Eastern Alps. Here, nature is the top priority. Colourful natural forests, crystal-clear mountain streams and enchanting alpine pastures provide habitats for an extraordinary diversity of animals and plants. Rare and endangered species, such as the lynx, have returned to the wild forest of Kalkalpen National Park and found a place to live.

The National Park was established on 25th July 1997 with a total area of 210 km². It contains 200 kilometres of natural streams and 800 springs. 81 % of the National Park are covered by forests, 8 % by dwarf pine, 6 % by alpine pasture and 5 % by rock formations. 50 mammals, including 17 bat species, and 80 breeding birds, including 6 woodpecker species have been identified. 1,000 flowering plants, among them 42 wild orchid species and 1,500 butterflies – the highest number in Austria - can be found in the area. The oldest beech forest in the whole alpine region can be found in the Kalkalpen. The main types of rock are limestone and primary dolomite. The elevation lies between 385 m and 1,963 m a.s.l.. The park has an enormous variety of beetles species, among them 22 primeval forest relict species such as rosalia longicorn beetle and Austrian-wood borer and unique cave beetle species.

Most of the area belongs to the Republic of Austria (88 % are federal forests), only few areas are private land. The public land is by 50 % in the property of Upper Austria and 50 % in the property of the Federal Government of Austria. 89 % of the Park are designated as Zone A – that means “nature zone with non intervention" and 11 % are designated as Zone B (i.e. management zone like Alpine pastures and mountain meadows).


The National Park is part of the European network of protected areas (Natura 2000) and it is an internationally important wetland area (RAMSAR), due to the karst landscape and the large number of streams and springs.

Management goals are:

  • Protection of nature - to leave nature to itself, to enable wilderness. Wilderness is much older than mankind. Wilderness creates diversity.
  • Education - the NP offers visitor programmes for adults as well as for school children. Our Rangers guide about 12.000 visitors per year through the National Park.
  • Research - several research and monitoring programmes are run by the NP. We have a water laboratory, where the quality of the springs and their water is permanently monitored.
  • Recreation - the National Park area is a place for recreation, to experience nature with all senses. There are only some restrictions for visitors, e.g. wetlands are strictly protected.

Contact information

Kalkalpen National Park assoc.
Contact person: Regina Buchriegler
Phone: +43 (0)7584-3651

click on the logo to open the park website

 Kalkalpen NP
 Sengsen Mountains. Photo: E. Mayrhofer
 Bodinge. Photo: F. Sieghartsleitner
 Kalkalpen NP. Photo: H. Erber
 Rosalia alpina. Photo: F. Marek
 Beech Forest. Photo: E. Mayrhofer
 Lady slipper orchids. Photo: F. Sieghartsleitner