The Swiss National Park
17 September 2023
The canton of Graubünden is the location of the Swiss National Park (Schweizer Nationalpark/parc naziunal svizzer), four regional nature parks (Parc Ela, the Beverin Nature Park, Parco Val Calanca and Biosfera Val Müstair) and the Unesco World Heritage TectonicArena Sardona.
The Swiss National Park, the Biosfera Val Müstair, and parts of the municipality of Scuol form the UNESCO Biosfera Engiadina Val Müstair.
The symbol of the National Park is the bird cratschla (nutcracker), also the namesake of the magazine Cratschla of the National Park Information Centre in Zernez. Founded in 1914, the National Park is the oldest nature reserve in the Alps. The area is not called a “wild” park for nothing. The park’s motto is, therefore, “Genuinely wild”.
Nature takes its course without human intervention or activity. Snow avalanches and rockfalls are not catastrophes but natural processes. The (returned) wolves, bears and other predators are natural inhabitants and can live undisturbed.
Pictures in the Panorama Room (Panorama-Raum)
Scientists have been studying the ecosystem, flora and fauna since 1914. All animals, even the smallest of a few millimetres, like snails, are closely observed nowadays to understand the effects of climate change.
For example, studies have shown that snails (Schnirkelschnecken for example) are going higher and higher in the mountains, up to 2500 metres, which was unthinkable 30 years ago. Nature is adapting. In addition, large and small predators are the focus of interest.
The study also includes the God da Tamagur (Tamagur Forest), the highest pine forest in Europe. It is located near S-charl, a hamlet without permanent inhabitation and belonging to the municipality of Scuol. The forest is on the way to the Ofen Pass and Lü in the Biosfera Val Müstair.
The National Park is not only a truly “wild” park and a source of scientific research, but it has also recently opened the newly equipped information centre in Zernez.
The old information centre dated from 2008. The newly designed information centre offers interactive activities for three age groups in five languages (German, French, Italian, Romansh and English). A media guide accompanies young and old in these languages.
Image in the Panorama Room ((Panorama-Raum)
In vivid visual representations in the Panorama Room, the National Park comes alive in all seasons and on the highest peaks (Piz Quattervals 3165 metres) and deep valleys, gorges, streams and mountain lakes.
The extensive but well-structured documentation and explanations give insight into the fascinating ecosystem in changing seasons, flora and fauna.
Impressions of the Wildlife Arena (Wildnisarena)
These presentations are followed by a staged experience of “wildlife”, the wilderness arena with authentic sounds and figures of the animals and an imitation of the seasons. It is a kind of 3-D world but without 3-D glasses. After this atmospheric experience and a brief history of the park’s creation, the Science and Research area follows.
The open-air laboratory (Freiluftlabor)
In the open-air laboratory, visitors are actively involved in researching the formation of the landscape, the development and current state of flora and fauna, the glaciers and recent developments concerning climate. Millions of years are brought into focus using interactive media, models and documentation as if it were yesterday. Here, too, the layout is suitable for all three age groups.
In addition, visitors in the three age groups are actively involved in experiencing and perceiving “wild” nature. Experts guide the visitors on monitors and other visual media and provide information on specific topics.
(Source and further information: Schweizerischer Nationalpark)
Humankind and alpine nature over time
The information centre in Zernez also organizes temporary exhibitions.