National Park Background

Let Nature be Nature

National parks are large areas with particularly valuable and pristine natural landscapes, substantial parts of which people have little or no influence over. The nature, the landscape and the animal and plant species that live there are afforded special protection. In national parks, nature is allowed to develop freely and develop within its own rules.

Stürmische See am Darßer Weststrand Hochwasser © Klaus Haase
Storm on Weststrand Beach

The idea is over 150 years old

In order to preserve particularly natural landscapes, the world's first national park, Yellowstone, was established in America as early as 1872. Since then, many national parks have been added around the world to protect the outstanding landscapes of our planet from human exploitation.

National parks in Germany

The first legally protected natural areas in Germany were established in the 1920s. The Bavarian Forest became Germany's first national park. It was established in 1970.

In national parks, people should experience nature, relax and learn, as far as the conservation goals allow. Economic use is limited to small sub-areas where, using traditional economic methods, the land can be used in an environmentally friendly way.

There are currently 16 national parks in Germany. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has three: in addition to the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, the Jasmund National Park on the island of Rügen and the Müritz National Park.

A national park is not a nature reserve

Darss Nature Reserve, Lagoon Area Nature Reserve, Baltic Sea Nature Reserve, Darss Conservation Area ..., the terminology around the national park is as diverse as its nature. Conservation areas and nature reserves offer their own categories of protection. What distinguishes a national park from them is strict protection, allowing nature to be nature over a large area. Conservation areas are usually much smaller, and nature reserves and biosphere reserves often combine several strictly protected conservation areas and cultivated landscapes around them.

Here is an overview of the protected area categories.