Paddle trip ends in trouble

Two boats, four people, one dog – jorg grosse swarms from the "wunderschonen" saturday outing on the wiesent river. Jorg grosse, his neighbor wolfgang batz and the wives of the two paddlers had boarded in behringersmuhle. What dulled the three-hour trip downriver were the many rule violations observed by the paddling quartet. Boat drivers disregarded "in rows" the exit points or "sounded with their ghetto blasters" the river landscape.

"I didn’t want to get angry because the day was already like that", remembers big. But at the exit point in muggendorf, the trouble suddenly took over. "We were massively insulted by the professional boat renters", says wolfgang batz. "They pulled our boats away and threatened to have our cars towed away."

The meadow next to the exit point in muggendorf is well occupied even on weekdays. It gets tight at the weekends. The boat rentals have pitched their tents here. But also private boaters use the area to reload their boats pulled ashore. "People who arrive privately are pushed away", argues big. "The space on the meadow is taken by professional renters with their buses and tents. In the last two or three years it has become massive." Grosse, who is very much in favor of the use of the meadow by kayakers, says: "people are being let down the meadow in batches. The nature conservancy has set rules and does not control them."

The experiences of grosse and batz raise two questions: are there generally too many paddlers on the wiesent?? Will the mass of river tourists arriving in muggendorf become a burden for the community of wiesenttal??

Conni zimmermann works for the kayak rental company leinen los – the company with which grosse and batz had the bad experience. "If someone stands in our way, there are sometimes small arguments", says conni zimmermann. But from a "displacement of private drivers" can not be the talk. It is clearly regulated that they also use the exit point. "The lenders were allowed to drive in, we pay for it to the landowner. If too many others park here, we ask people to drive out again", says conni zimmermann. From an "overload the wiesent and the arrival point could not be talked about.

Marco trautner, the first mayor of wiesenttal (freie wahler) seems to see things a little differently. He has the feeling that the whole community is "overrun" during the vacation season (see statement below).

Karin lammlein (head of the department of nature conservation and water law at the district office) reminds us that the "navigation permit on the wiesent only runs until the end of september". Precisely because of the conflicts of interest, a contractual appeal is underway. "We are waiting for the results and hope that they will reach us in time for the new season on 1. May present." As repeatedly reported in the FT, the dispute over the wiesent has changed the way the river is treated. What remained unchanged are the accusations of lack of control.

Operation like in the alpine foothills

Karin lammlein says: the paddlers are well informed (through flyers and the homepage of the district office); there are fixed boat landing places; the number of commercial boat trips is also limited; the nature conservation authority checks the rental companies’ trip bookings almost monthly. In addition, there is the social control by the population and ten district nature guards. Nevertheless, lammlein emphasizes, "I can’t completely monitor it." Especially during the vacation season, when corona made the french region as busy as the alpine foothills or the coast, people had to "understand that we can’t fight everything".

Marco trautner: "the market wiesenttal is formally overrun on weekends" the mass of tourists and paddlers becomes a problem for the community in corona times? Marco trautner, the first mayor of wiesenttal, commented on this question as follows:

"Corona has shaken up and changed all our lives. Problems arose, problems solved. What certainly did not get rid of, and in my opinion intensified, is the theme of tourism, parking and camping. The market wiesenttal in the heart of french switzerland with the main towns muggendorf and streitberg is formally overrun on weekends and holidays. And the vacations in bavaria have only just begun. I did not want to abolish tourism, nor did I want to scold or ban our day and vacation guests. We have a beautiful landscape and are of course willing to share it. But considerate, tactful, careful and also respectful of the local population. But i also see the pandemic as an opportunity for the wiesenttal market to develop as a tourist destination under the motto "vacations at home"."

Passage forbidden?

Also concerning the controversial arrival point in muggendorf (see article above), the FT asked marco trautner for clarification. The parking lot is used by the professional renters. But who else has the right to park there and leave his boat? The question is therefore explosive, because at said place a sign is set up: "private property, passage forbidden". Is this legal?

Marco trautner: "we are dealing here with two different locations in the local area. The public spaces marked as parking lots are in municipal hands. For a part of the land there is a lease agreement between the market wiesenttal as owner and a commercial enterprise with seat in the market wiesenttal as lessee."

The mayor emphasizes that he will not disclose details of the lease agreement. But it was "coherent" and also in the sense of the lower nature conservation authority, to guarantee the private boaters an "unhindered access to the landing stage through the leased land". A use of the paved road by private boaters is therefore "not completely excluded", emphasizes marco trautner. "A general parking, without having an immediate possibility of action on his vehicle, I see extremely critical, because the area is marked as a loschwasserentnahmestelle and the access for the fire department must be ensured." Conclusion of the mayor: he relies on mutual consideration and understanding for the concerns of all parties involved: the ? Commercial boaters, local people, private boaters and nature.