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Bog remnant (Photo:  R. Hofrichter)Peat cutting by hand  (Photo: Archiv Torferneuerungsverein)Lakes and Ponds (Photo: A. Ausobsky)The Weidmoos in winter (Photo: R. Hofrichter)Lakes and ponds (Photo: R. Hofrichter)

Peat cutting - man's impact on the landscape

Until the 18th century the Weidmoos and the other large bog complexes of the Alpine foothills were large, almost inaccessible areas which even filled people with fear. In 1700 Archbishop J.E. Graf von Thun declared that “...all bogs in the judicial districts this side of the mountains are to be described and cultivated...”. But it was almost another hundred years before the Weidmoos began to be cultivated in 1790.

As industrialisation got under way, bringing with it a shortage of fuel, people began to be interested in burning peat. Peat was of particular interest for the glass industry which was just being established in Bürmoos. The raw materials for glass production were there on the doorstep – lime from Haunsberg, sand from the Salzach, peat from the bog. After the collapse of the glass industry, peat cutting also came to an end in 1930.

In 1947 the “Österreichische Stickstoffwerke AG Linz” (Austrian Nitrogen Works AG) restarted the large-scale industrial production of fuel peat and milled peat. The bog became an industrial landscape. From the middle of the 1950s, peat was mined only for the production of plant compost (garden peat). Production did not cease until the year 2000, when peat supplies were running low. Only a small remnant of the original bog remains today.

> Slideshow with pictures from the former peat cutting

 

(c) B. Riehl
Peat used to be an important source of energy ...

(c) Archiv Torferneuerungsverein
Large-scale mining of peat transformed the Weidmoos into an industrial landscape ...

(c) Archiv Torferneuerungsverein
The “Bockerlbahn” linked the peat works with the Weidmoos ...