The hiker’s car park below the Söllbach valley has been overcrowded for some time now, maneuvering is wild, and the residents of the narrow access road are at least annoyed. The same could be said of many parking lots here at Tegernsee, but in the case of the Söllbach valley, the interpretations differ particularly widely. Two months ago, about three quarters of an hour’s walk further in the valley, the once lonely Söllbachaualm, which was used purely for agriculture, finally became the “Saurüsselalm” and thus the latest gastronomic event here on the west bank of Lake Tegernsee. While some now see the full parking lot as a result of this Alm gentrification, the municipality of Bad Wiessee sees things very differently. For them, the many cars are above all proof that the new offer is urgently needed. And last but not least, it could depend on this question whether the approval for the conversion is legal at all.
The Association for the Protection of the Mountain World and the Tegernsee Valley Protection Association, which contacted the state government last year, have strong doubts about this. In its reply, the Ministry of Building wrote that it had “not yet become sufficiently clear” that the gastro hut was “objectively necessary” to supply numerous hikers and mountain bikers. The district office in Miesbach, which had issued the permit, received a similar letter, which, however, contained a number of other “recommendations” from the ministry.
According to the relevant case law, it is probably not enough for the municipality of Bad Wiessee to justify the need for the new offer with the easy accessibility of the location. “Especially the closed companies for Christmas or company celebrations including transport service that are approved in the operating concept entail the risk that the special relaxation tendency of the location will be exploited to generate a separate demand,” the ministry continues. In this case, the demand would not have been there first, as is necessary for a building permit for such a project far away from any built-up area. Rather, the new supply would have generated this demand in the first place.
But that would be pretty much in line with the goals of the municipality of Bad Wiessee, which is currently making every effort to get rid of its dusty seventies image and to offer its presumably mostly Munich day trippers an easy hike to a somehow alpine excursion restaurant. The mayor Robert Kühn, who was elected to office in 202o, needs the local landowner Franz Haslberger. Kühn’s predecessor, Peter Höß, had fallen out with the demanding building materials contractor from Freising over the expansion of the former tourist restaurant “Bauer in der Au”. Haslberger then practically closed the restaurant completely to the public and is now allowed to remedy the shortage that first arose with his new “Saurüsselalm”, managed by Helmut Kohl’s former personal chef and today’s noble caterer Martin Frühauf.
From the district office in Miesbach it is said that the information from Munich was taken seriously, the municipality of Bad Wiessee was asked again for information on the number of hikers and the concerns of the ministry were already dispelled. According to this, 29,500 cars were parked in the Söllbachtal before the opening of the Saurüsselalm throughout the year, which means almost 74,000 visitors a year in the area with an average of half full cars – from the point of view of the community and their lawyer, there is enough need for the new hut, although a little further the popular Aueralm is also in the mountains. So far, the Saurüsselalm has been visited by an average of 300 day-trippers per day.
But once a week there should also be a hut evening into the night and occasionally closed parties. “Here, the special secluded location of the Alm in the context of the cultural landscape is used to operate an extraordinary restaurant. It is questionable if the isolated location outside is approached by minibuses in order to be able to cater for closed groups,” analyzes the Ministry of Building. The Bavarian State Association for Homeland Care even reprimands a “ruthless lack of culture”. It is “completely unnecessary and unbearable that nature is expected to provide gastronomy with hut evenings, to which party guests can then be transported in minibuses,” says Managing Director Rudolf Neumaier. In general, the letter from the ministry to the district office reads as if the community were tricking together an approval in favor of the investor.
The Association for the Protection of the Mountain World and the Tegernsee Valley Protection Association also criticize the nocturnal partying particularly sharply – especially since nature and the animals would be disturbed in a previously completely isolated retreat. From the point of view of the Miesbach district office, the shuttle buses are even better than if a whole crowd of guests in a high party mood would pull themselves through the forest towards the parking lot after midnight.
The district office will hardly convince the critics. Even the ministry expressly points out in its letter that the association for the protection of the mountains is recognized as a nature conservation association and therefore has the right to sue. The club could almost interpret that as an invitation. He keeps a low profile as to whether he will accept it.