Lechtal: The Lech Valley in Western Autria
Skiing Area Lechtal in Tyrol & Vorarlberg
The Lechtal or Lech Valley is a valley in western Austria, mostly situated in Tyrol, with one corner that is part of Vorarlberg. It is named after the river Lech - the one that also gave its name to the famous ski town Lech am Arlberg. Just like this town, the Lechtal is highly regarded as a skiing area. Beyond that, there is fairly little left to say about the area: Only the Arlberg skiing ghettos (just like Lech, Zürs is also within the Lechtal) are relevant for tourism; these ghettos, however, do attract a genuinely high amount of visitors during the long winter season and cause this part of the Lechtal fasll into a skiing frenzy for several months each year.
Geographically, the Lechtal lies between the Lechtaler Alpen to its south and the Allgäuer Alpen (already Germany) to its north. The area around Reutte is well-known as a hiking region during the summer season, but locally also as a centre for SME-industries. Reutte itself is the economic centre of the Lechtal. The valley has several side-valleys branching off, many of which are well-known for their skiing areas. The most famous one would probably be the Tannheimertal. At the town of Füssen, the Lechtal gradually fades out and opens into Bavaria (Germany).
If you happen to be an observant reader of TourMyCountry.com, you might already know that Austrian dialects and accents all belong to the Bavarian (Bairisch) group of German dialects with the Vorarlberg accents being the only exception - these are Allemannic. The Lechtal is right at the dialectic border between Bavarian-Tyrolian and Allemannic-Vorarlberg speak. According to Wikipedia, the divide is Weißenbach. Since I have not been in this village myself yet, I have to rely on this piece of information, but I can assure you that the article has been changed twice - which means that no less than a minimum of three Wikipedia-editing people out there see the dialect border in Weißenbach. What more certainty can one ask for in this post-modern age?
Skiing Paradise instead of National Park: The Lechtal of Tyrol
Once upon a time, the Lechtal was supposed to become a national park. An area of over 4,000 hectares was designated for this institution and planning had advanced far. However, as it is often the case in skiable mountain areas in Austria, pimping the country out to the international jet-set proved to be more appealing to the Tyrolean provincial government than preserving their natural resources for future generations.
In 2004, all plans to found a national park in the Lechtal were abandoned, a part of the Lechtal became a "Naturpark" (an ordinary nature reserve). One of the main reasons was that the government did not to interfere with local hunters - banning hunting at least in a part of the protected area is a prerequisite for being internationally recognised as a National Park.
In addition to the Tyrolean decision to make the Lechtal a nature reserve, much of the Lechtal is a Natura 2000 region (to which it was declared in the first round during the year 2000) - which raises the hope that the European Union will prevent destructive decisions in Innsbruck. Nature lovers (and gin aficionados) will note the juniper berry trees that grow along the Lech, the woods of the German tamarisk and plenty of rare Alpine animals and plants.
Back to "Tyrol