Opposition grows to mountain peak "piercing"

Up to 50 people at a time will be able to "walk on air" thanks to the platform stockhornbahn

Environmental organisations are trying to stop plans to “pierce the nose” of one of canton Bern’s iconic mountains with a glass observation platform.

This content was published on October 6, 2010 - 11:01 and agencies

The operators of the cable car on the Stockhorn near Thun want to spend SFr500,000 ($518,000) to build the platform, which would enable visitors to exit a tunnel near the summit and look straight down the near vertical north face.

But Pro Natura and the Swiss Foundation for Landscape Protection (SL), along with several individuals, have exercised their right to formally object to the plans.

According to the authorities in Thun, SL believes that the north flank of the 2,190-metre mountain should remain unchanged over the long term, while Pro Natura thinks people using the platform will disturb birds nesting in the crooks and crannies of the rocky peak.

There has been a century-long conflict between railway and cable car operators and environmental organisations, who oppose large-scale tourism projects in the mountains.

Another recent scheme to make the headlines was plans by the Jungfrau Railways company to move its tourist infrastructure higher up the mountain of the same name – from 3,454m to 3,700m.

And a project to build a 117-metre tower on top of the summit of the Kleine (small) Matterhorn has been put on hold due to objections. The tower, to house a hotel and restaurant, would raise the mountain to the impressive height of 4,000m.

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