Trail concepts and visitor guidance for winter sports

Trail concepts and visitor guidance for winter sports
In Vorarlberg/A and Switzerland the cross-national campaign "Respektiere deine Grenzen" supports the creation of leasure areas for wild animals. © Thommy Weiss/

Involved sectors

Forestry, Hunting, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection, Other: Sports Associations

Affected habitats

Forest, Alpine habitats, Grassland


Ski touring and snowshoeing have become increasingly popular winter sports in recent years, offering an experience of the winter landscape off the pathways and pistes. However, they take sportspersons into the refuge areas of wild animals, which are highly sensitive to disturbance in winter. For critically sensitive zones, the German Alpine Association (DAV) publishes information for touring skiers regarding recommended routes (this includes demarcation of sensitive areas, waymarking, and information boards and maps at car parks). Efforts are also being made to promote cooperation with the authors and publishers of guidebooks.


Impact in particular on Big mammals, Birds
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Disturbance in sensitive areas is avoided during the winter.
Element of ecological network Demarcating quiet zones for game in winter creates important refuge areas which thus become winter core zones in a biotope network.
Other In areas with emerging young forest stands, this measure can also help protect the young trees.
Time of realisation for measure Immediate: Disturbance created by just a single winter sportsperson can have fatal consequences for sensitive species. Marking alternative routes prevents the animals from being disturbed.
Impact scope Local (municipality): In the case of a regional or national initiative (e.g. by the German Alpine Association - DAV), or when a rare species of animal is involved (e.g. wood grouse - capercaillie), the impact can have a regional or even a national significance.


Implementation period Months: Determining the sensitive routes or sections of routes, formulating alternatives, preparing the information campaigns and signage along the new routes require some preparatory work.
Frequency Recurring: Time-consuming and costly preparation of measures needed. Their implementation requires optimal care and continuous adaptation.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Low (1'000-10'000 EUR): Costs vary greatly depending on the project; besides labour, the main expenditure relates to publicity materials.
Socio-economic impacts Low
Sources of financing Private sponsor, Other private sources, Public: local, Public: regional
Legal situation Voluntary collaboration of stakeholders.

Further information

Evaluation There has been a very positive response and acceptance of the measures among ski tourers. Positive impacts, especially on grouse populations, have been demonstrated in various areas, including the German uplands. Information campaigns have been carried out in many different regions (especially protected areas); however, actual demarcation of alternative routes is less common.
Information Germany: Information on the “Environment-friendly Ski Touring” project is available from the German Alpine Association at: (keyword Environment-friendly ski touring)
Contact Germany: Information on the projects in Berchtesgaden National Park: (en)
Good Practice Environment-friendly ski touring, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Le ski de randonnée respectueux de l’environnement
Sci alpinismo compatibile con la natura

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