Nature parks and conservation areas are quite charming and surprisingly numerous in such a populated state. Walking through the countryside in and around the Ruhr Metropolis, here and there signs can be seen declaring a nature conservation area (Naturschutzgebiet). The inverted triangles are white with a green border and the symbol of a flying bird. They may also bear the word Naturschutzgebiet.
The protection and preservation of flora and fauna, ecosystems and endangered species is high on the agenda in Germany. Many a tunnel has been forced into being or a development project postponed due to increased awareness and respect for nature. It is important not to leave signposted paths or light a campfire or let dogs run loose, all of which could trouble or interfere or disturb the natural environment. Local authorities can be very strict, especially during the mating season.
Smaller reserves in the vicinity of the Rhine include Knechtsteden, Spey, Zons and Ilverich, all with special animal and plant species. Other areas can also include just a few fields and be designated for the purpose of protection of the water supply.
Nature parks in NRW can also be experienced in NRW. Rhineland, which lies between the Rhine plain and the Erft in the West of Cologne is one. Others are Bergisches Land surrounded by the cities Wuppertal, Solingen and Remscheid and the Hohe Mark reaching from the northern Ruhr area to the Lower Rhine and up to southern Münsterland.
Beside the nature parks there is one national park (Nationalpark) in the state of NRW, which is in the Eifel. The park is intended for the protection of nature and landscapes and also durable and environmentally compatible agriculture. Respectfully instigated recreational areas and tourism are likewise desired. A movement to introduce a second national park in the state has been underway for some time.
Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
40476 Düsseldorf , NRW
Phone: +49 211 456 60
Fax: +49 211 456 6388