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Zillertal: Anna Stöhr, Jakob Schubert and the group of climbers that represented 10,000 climbers from all over the world who signed the petition to save Zillergrund Wald
Photo by archive Anna Stöhr
Save Zillergrund Wald, Zillertal: Markus Schwaiger, Anna Stöhr and the 10,000 signatures given to the mayor Heinz Ebenbichler
Photo by archive Anna Stöhr
Save Zillergrund Wald, Zillertal: Gerhard Hörhager talking to a journalist
Photo by archive Anna Stöhr
The quarry at Zillergrund Wald, Zillertal, Austria
Photo by archive Anna Stöhr

Save Zillergrund Wald, threat to Zillertal bouldering area mobilises thousands

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Update about the climbers protest against the planned quarry expansion which would irreversibly destroy the Zillergrund Wald bouldering area in the Zillertal, Austria.

At the time of writing, over 15,000 climbers have signed the petition to help save the Zillergrund bouldering area in the Zillertal valley, Austria. As reported last Friday, the forest - recognised as the premier bouldering spot not only in the Tirol region but throughout the rest of the country - is currently at risk of closure as the local quarry plans to expand the existing extraction area.

The grassroots petition Save Zillergrund Wald, led by local climbers Gerhard Hörhager, Markus Schwaiger, Verena Steiner from the local Stonemonkeys coalition, the Austrian Alpine Club and numerous star climbers such as Anna Stöhr. Jakob Schubert and Kilian Fischhuber, has received an incredible support from climbers worldwide. Over 10,000 signatures were handed to the mayor of Zillertal region and the local council at Tuesday morning’s official meeting.

Speaking to planetmountain.com earlier today, double World Champion boulderer Anna Stöhr explained "First of all I’d really like to thank the global climbing community for its immediate, unconditional support. The response has been overwhelming and we feel honoured that so many people are backing us, that so many people across the globe love this unique forest just like we do. Thanks to this movement we have also managed to attract the attention of the national media, and at the meeting we were even joined by a representative of the country’s Green Party, Gebhard Mair. This is great news but we continue to need more help. In a few days we’re moving on to phase two, we’ll be handing the list of signatures to the regional council, the region Tirol, and the local parliament will hopefully look into this controversial issue. Of course, the more signatures we have in favour of saving the forest and the boulders, the better."

The future of the "Zauberwald", of Zillertal’s magic forest, is obviously uncertain and while the final decision should be announced in a few weeks, much has changed since climbers unsuccessfully opposed the expansion to the quarry in 2008. Climbing has grown from a niche activity into a fully recognised Olympic Sport and, importantly, the Tirol region has invested heavily in climbing during the last decade, with Austria even hosting the World Championship only a few months ago. But it would be a mistake to let one's guard down. "Closing one of the most beautiful bouldering areas in the country makes no sense at all and it’s important that we keep the spotlight on this issue now" explained Stöhr "so every new signature helps. Thanks a million!"

If you wish to sign the petition, please note that signing process must be completed in 3 distinct stages:

1. add name, surname and email
2. add address and country, and comment (not obligatory)
3. confirm your signature by clicking on the link sent via email

Click here to sign the petition on www.openpetition.eu/at/petition/online/save-zillergrund-wald

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