Settlement history

Rieden around 1912

Life in the nature park

Only a few prehistoric finds are known from the Reutten valley basin and the Lech valley. It is assumed that Celts came to the Lech Valley from the Allgäu area to go hunting in the Lechauen. They left their traces behind. Axes, arrowheads and daggers indicate this. And the old name "Lic" is also said to come from the Celtic tribe of the Likatians. The "stone-rich" or also the "fast-flowing" is said to be the translation for "Lic". Both would apply!

Around 15 BC, the Romans arrived under Emperor Augustus. They built the Via Claudia Augusta. Lic" became "Liccus", which is said to have the same two meanings in Latin.

From about 500 AD onwards, several waves of settlements passed over the area around the Tiroler Lech. It is known that Alemannic tribes, Rhaeto-Romans, Bavarians and Walliser migrated into the area of today's Tiroler Lech Nature Park.

The Swabian children are a sad chapter in Lechtal history. Often there was not enough food for the many children in a family. As soon as the snow allowed, the eldest had to go over the mountains to the neighbouring Allgäu to Kempten or Isny to the children's markets, where they were hired out as cheap labour to rich Allgäu farmers for a season. When winter came again, they returned home to their families in Tyrol.

In earlier times, many craftsmen and tradesmen moved from the nature park region to foreign countries to make their fortune there. The Lechtalers still live up to their reputation as artistically talented people today. The works of the wood sculptors and the acting performances of the Geierwallybühne, the largest open-air stage in Tyrol, are known beyond the borders.
Holzgau around 1909

Lech and people

With to live the Lech, is not always easy. The Tyrolean Lech has two faces. Picturesque and playful with turquoise blue water it can look like a work of art that creates itself anew every day. But after Rainfall and during the Snowmelt he can change his face within a few hours. Then he is dirty-brown with huge masses of water making their way.

People still speak of the Lech in the valley area as the "largest landowner". But in order to be able to live along the Lech and gain land for pastures and settlements, they first on a small scale, then on a larger scale, diverted the Lech into a smaller bed with walls and dams. What was well-intentioned turned out to be a mistake. The Lech needs space for its water masses. Floods overflowed the fortified banks and caused great damage. With the help of public funds, the Lech was renaturalised in places. During the floods, it became clear that where the Lech had retained its wide riverbed, the damage was less than in the built-up sections of the riverbank.

Even today, the Tyrolean Lech is gradually being freed from its obstructions. It is considered a prime example of successful river restoration throughout Europe.

"We live in the Tiroler Lech Nature Park!"

A sentence that constantly accompanies the people who are firmly rooted in this natural and cultural landscape and who preserve it with much dedication and effort.

The Tiroler Lech Nature Park is different - it is the only nature park in Tyrol in the valley area. Many protected areas in Tyrol are located in the mountains far away from inhabited areas. The Lech with its side streams forms the largest contiguous protected area in the valley area of Tyrol. This extensive valley location is a special feature, because the economic and permanent settlement area of the population along the Tyrolean Lech borders directly on the areas of natural significance. Nevertheless, the proportion of agriculturally used land in the Tiroler Lech Nature Park is not large. Only 6.2 % of the protected areas are cultivated. These are intensive and extensive agricultural areas as well as grazed riparian areas (forest pasture). In the middle and lower area of the Tyrolean Lech Valley there is a high proportion of agriculturally used land. Especially in the municipalities of Weißenbach am Lech, Musau and Vils, farmed areas are protected.