The Wiese Landscape Park
25 April 2022
It is perhaps hard to imagine, but even Canton Basel-Stadt has an agricultural and forestry area. The canton consists of three municipalities: the city of Basel and the municipalities of Bettingen and Riehen.
Most of the canton is an urban and industrial area on the left bank of the Rhine, apart from the city parks, the zoo, and trees along the Rhine. If you drive by car along the motorway and through the tunnels, you will see mainly the concrete and industrial side of the city.
The agricultural and forestry area is located on the right bank of the Rhine. Between the German towns of Lörrach and Weil am Rhein. East of the villages of Riehen and near Bettingen is the only mountain of the canton, the 522 m high Chrischona, and its many stone border posts of the Grand Duchy of Baden and the Canton of Basel from the period after the Congress of Vienna in the years 1814-1815. Forests and small meadows characterise this predominantly green area.
The Forestry and agriculture area is situated west of Riehen along the River Wiese. The river has its source in the Black Forest near the Feldberg (Baden-Württemberg) and flows into the Rhine at Kleinhüningen, a district of Basel.
From the Swiss-German border, the river flows 4.5 kilometres through the Wiese Landscape Park before passing 1.7 kilometres through the urban area of Basel. The 600-hectare park is a successful cross-border regional project of the municipalities of Basel, Riehen, Lörrach, and Weil am Rhein. Forestry, drinking water supply, recreation, agriculture and nature protection go hand in hand with the Wiese as the flowing centre.
The forest has centuries-old (Californian) giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), elms, oaks, beeches, maples, conifers, and diverse flora and fauna.
During the last long period of the Ice Ages (640 000 – 10 000 B.C.), the area was at the end of the Feldberg glacier. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the area was cultivated for agriculture and industrial use. Mills, blacksmiths, textile laundries, paint and varnish factories, and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries used the water and energy from the Wiese.
The Wiese was canalised at the beginning of the twentieth century to check the many floods. The canalised Wiese and its fish ladders look somewhat artificial, but this is more than 600 hectares of woods and meadows on both sides of the river.