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 have left their traces. Axes, arrowheads and daggers indicate this. And also the old name "Lic" is said to come from the Celtic tribe of the Likatier. The "stone-rich" or also the "fast-flowing" is supposed to be the translation for "Lic". Both would apply!

Around 15 B.C. the Romans came 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 on, several waves of settlements passed over the area around the Tyrolean Lech. It is known that Alemannic tribes, Rhaeto-Romans, Bavarians and Walliser migrated into the area of today's nature park Tiroler Lech.

The Swabian children are a sad chapter in the history of the Lechtal. 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 neighboring Allgäu to Kempten or Isny to the children's markets, where they were hired out as cheap labor 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. 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

Living with 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 recreates itself every day. But after rainfall and during snowmelt, it can change its face in a matter of hours. Then it is dirty-brown with huge masses of water making their way.

People still refer to the Lech in the valley area as the "biggest landowner". But in order to be able to live along the Lech and to gain land for pastures and villages, they have 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 to renaturalize the Lech 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 regarded throughout Europe as a prime example of successful river restoration.

"We live in the Tiroler Lech Nature Park!"

A phrase 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 river with its side streams forms the largest contiguous protected area in the valley area of Tyrol. This extensive valley location represents 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 share of agriculturally used areas in the Tyrolean Lech Nature Park is not large. Only 6.2% of the protected areas are cultivated. These are agricultural intensive and extensive areas as well as grazed floodplain (forest pasture). In the middle and lower part of the Tyrolean Lech Valley there is a high percentage of agriculturally used land. Particularly in the municipalities of Weißenbach am Lech, Musau and Vils, farmed areas are protected.