Wadden Sea National Park is open for all – you may travel around freely, in the same way as usual, when you are a visitor to Denmark. But in the National Park there will be better possibilities to experience the area and to be closer to it`s rich nature and culture.
National parks in Denmark When the Wadden Sea National Park is inaugurated, one of Denmark`s unquestionably most important nature reserves becomes part of the National Parks of Denmark. Wadden Sea National Park is the third out of five proposed national parks to be inaugurated. Wadden Sea National Park will be the largest national park in Denmark and it covers 146.600 Ha.
It encompasses the Wadden Sea, the Wadden Sea islands, Skallingen, Varde Ådal, the area around Marbæk and part of the marshlands behind the dikes on the mainland ( Tjæreborgmarsken, Ribemarsken, Margrethekogen and the outer ”kogs” in Tøndermarsken (”kog” is land claimed from the sea).
All five national parks are nominated by previous ministers of the environment in accordance with the group of parties supporting the law of the national parks. The first National Park to be inaugurated was Thy (2008), then Mols Bjerge (2009) and this year The Wadden Sea National Park is on the agenda. In the coming years Skjern Å and Kongernes Nordsjælland will follow.
Read about the Danish national parks at: www.danmarksnationalparker.dk
Outdoor life The islands and the natural coastlands by the Wadden Sea have become an area in Denmark that really attracts a lot of visitors. It`s unique nature and culture, along with the many holiday homes, camping sites, youth hostels and other accommodation possibilities, have been the fertile basis for the creation of a strong tourist region.
The Wadden Sea islands Rømø, Mandø and Fanø lie along the coast like pearls on a string and they offer unique experiences. The sea, the dunes, the woods the heaths and the fauna all speak their own language and they appeal to both children and adults to use it.
On the mainland the dikes, the marshland and the migrating birds impress the nature loving guests.
The Nature The Wadden Sea is a part of the Danish/German/Dutch Wadden Sea, which is one of the most important nature reserves. The Wadden Sea is on the list of Particular Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA) along with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.
The Wadden Sea forms part of the Natura 2000-network of protected areas in the EU. In Wadden Sea National Park there is a great potential to strengthen the possibilities of outdoor life, inform about it and experience the nature here, just as the national park may benefit the local development.
Fauna The Wadden Sea is of vital importance to the 10 – 12 million birds that migrate in the spring and in the autumn on their way to their breeding grounds or to their wintering grounds. The Wadden Sea is a gigantic larder, where the migrating birds are able to find vital needs for their further flight. Here they can find mussels, archimedean screws, lugworms etc. of which the Wadden Sea is rich of and in the marshes they find other feeds.
The wide mussel banks in the Wadden Sea are an important source of feeding for, among others, the eider and the oystercatcher. The coastal areas and the areas behind the dikes are also of great importance as a ”larder” especially for the mallard, the wigeon, the pintail as well as for the brent goose and the barnacle goose.
Among the migrating birds we have the starlings, who make an impressive display called ”black sun”. In the autumn thousands of starlings gather in flocks above the marsh at dusk, before settling for the night. In the Tøndermarsk the flocks may encompass more than one million starlings.
The Wadden Sea, incidentally, has the largest population of the common seal to be found in Denmark. Many places in the Wadden Sea are banks, which flood at high tide. Here the common seal rests.
Islands and the tide The whole of the Wadden Sea carries the status of nature- and game reserve with specific rules laid out for traffic, shooting of game and various other activities. The area contains more than 30 islands. Of these the three inhabited islands: Fanø, Mandø and Rømø. The whole of the Wadden Sea area is affected by the tide, which occurs due to the moon`s force of attraction. This force of attraction gives the tide a regular interval of 6.25 hrs. between high and low tide.
The weather conditions also affect the tide. Wind from the West will press the sea towards the coast and may increase the effect of the tide by up to four meters in a severe storm. The usual difference between high and low tide is, at Ho Bugt, approximately 1.5 meters.
In the more dry areas, where plants have been able to take root, the water is calm enough for material brought in by the tide to settle.
The rhythm between ebb and flood The rhythm of the tide between ebb and flood twice every 24 hrs. provides fine conditions for the dynamic ecosystem of the Wadden Sea with it`s many microscopic plants and animals, who in return provide the basic feedigs for the seabed fauna of lug worms, mussels and crab. Thousands of these animals are to be found in just 1 m² on the Waddensea bed.
At low tide, when the wadd is dry, the birds have their fill of food before their journey to the breeding grounds in Northern Scandinavia, Siberia and Greenland – or on their way to wintering grounds further South. The common seal is the only sea mammal to breed in the Wadden Sea. The seals are, especially during breeding and shedding, dependant on being able to rest undisturbed on the dry banks.