Out and about in the Hohe Tauern National Park with the ranger

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EManuel Egger does not need a compass or a map. He has walked hundreds of times from the alpine houses of the Innergschlöss to the Salzboden and further to the Schlatenkees glacier. He knows every step in the rock and knows where stones loosen or the hooks with which the steel cables are anchored in the rock. He is happy when he sees vultures circling the ice fields and pauses in front of God’s eye: this is the name of the tiny lake in which an island overgrown with cotton grass drifts. “The scenery is almost kitschy beautiful.” Emanuel Egger’s blue eyes flash, a laugh pulls over his face. Such landmarks cannot be seen often enough, he is convinced of that. Every hike reveals new impressions and impressions: because no day is like the other, because light and sky are constantly changing and because winds and storms chase the clouds over the mountain peaks in thousands of ways.

Emanuel Egger has been a ranger in the Hohe Tauern National Park for almost thirty years, a region in the highest peak regions of Tyrol, Salzburg and Carinthia. His profile is impressive: over one thousand eight hundred square kilometers of protected nature, with fifteen to twenty thousand animal species, three and a half thousand different plants and four thousand mushrooms. In addition 342 glaciers, 279 streams, twenty six waterfalls, 551 lakes and three hundred three thousand meter peaks. The Grossglockner is the highest among them. Or just above them. But Emanuel Egger stands with both legs on the hard ground of the mountains. A strong handshake, the keen interest in his counterpart: a man with a winning charisma.

He has his desk in the National Park House in Matrei in East Tyrol, but prefers to hang around on the peaks and glaciers around the Defereggen, Virgen and Kalsertal valleys. His heart beats particularly hard in the Innergschlöss, at the foot of the Großvenediger. Between June and October, he sets off regularly to the glacier path there to guide visitors to just under the tongue of the Schlatenkees.

Away from the television cliché

Emanuel is passionate about what he does. Growing up in the shadow of Großvenediger, Rainer Horn and Schwarzer Wand, he and his parents explored the battlements, prongs and prongs of the Hohe Tauern. He realizes early on how locked up he is without these trips and tours. When he has the diploma from the business school in his pocket, he leaves accounting, tables and business English behind. In October 1991 the Tyrolean Landtag passed the National Park Act. A few months later, four positions for Ranger are advertised: that could be it, is his hope. He gets one of the positions and is part of it when he designs a profile for what was then a young profession. An exciting process, trend-setting for the future and the identity of the national park.

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