In lockdown 2020, there were so many people out and about in the woods that chaos regularly broke out in the parking lots. The situation eased in 2021, and the pressure eased again in 2022.
Schleiden (dpa/lnw) - A little more people visited the Eifel National Park in 2022 than in the pre-Corona year 2019. According to preliminary information, however, there were fewer visitors than in the first Corona year 2020, which was very much characterized by the lockdown and a large increase in visitors. "This suggests that the extreme number of visitors from the first year of Corona is slowly returning to a normal level," said a spokeswoman for the national park administration in the Eifel town of Schleiden.
In 2020, the national park on the western edge of North Rhine-Westphalia attracted an audience of millions for the first time. At the entrances, counting machines register the number of visitors.
For the current survey, the figures were evaluated up to mid-September 2022 in comparison to the same period in previous years. According to this, in 2022 there were a total of 14 percent more visitors than in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020 an increase of 47 percent was measured, in 2021 an increase of 18 percent compared to 2019.
The same trend can be seen in the Kottenforst near Bonn: In 2022 there were also fewer visitors than in the Corona years 2020 and 2021. There is also a people counting station here that automatically records visitors. "It was striking that very few people were out and about in June without the cause being clear," said the state forest and wood company.
The national park in the Eifel, which has existed since 2004, is the only one in North Rhine-Westphalia. A wilderness is to be created in the 11,000-hectare forest area near the Belgian border. Nature is left to itself on more than half of the area. In NRW, 27 percent of the state area is forested.