The geographical location of the Sund Meadow can be described in a simple way: It includes the eastern part of the peninsula Zingst, also called the Zingst. Situated between bodies of water, the Baltic Sea to the north and the Bodden-lagoons to the south - the area has its own special charm.
The name Sundische Wiese is attributed to an earlier annexation of the eastern part of the Zingst to the Hanseatic city of Stralsund. Evidence exists to this as far back as the 13th Century. These sources state the name Sundisch is derived from the 2nd syllable of the city name of Stralsund.
The visitor of this region should always be aware that the Sund Meadow with the High Dune Pramort, the visitor- free beach, the offshore islands and the large tidal flats, are there for the unconditional protection of nature. To understand the struggle of the people of the national park office regarding this piece of grassland in its entirety, it is useful to review some historical facts.
Various attempts at industrial use of the Sund Meadow
In the early 20th Century, Stralsund sells the Sund Meadow for a sum of 310,000 Marks. It goes into the hands of the Baron von Klot-Trautvetter. And only a few years later, with Count Eulenburg, already as another owner. With a price 1,100,000 Marks , the purchase price had significantly increased. The farmers who had settled in the meadow had to bear the consequences when their rent was so drastically increased, that in 1913 the first 16 farmers were forced to abandon their farms.
World War I ended Count Eulenburg's plans to relocate the Berlin railway to Trelleborg over Barth.
The next prospect was a newspaper company, which acquired the land with the intention of grow nettle plants here for the production of paper. The attempt failed because the plants do not thrive in this location.
The Sund Meadow is then sold to the Nordic Trading Company. Purely for out of greed for profit, this led to a large-scale deforestation.
The acquisition of land by the municipal company "Neuland AG" only lead to the repopulation of the old, abandoned farmsteads. New settlement that had been expected did not happen. The main reason for the failure of the project was the poor soil quality of the area.
The military use of the Sund Meadow
In 1937, this unique area takes on a new role. The military moves in. The army claims the area of the Sund Meadow for gunnery and bombing exercises. And 36 settlers are forced to vacate their farms immediately. Parts of the site will be built. Chronologically parallel to the establishment of an anti-aircraft artillery range, a relief airport and a bombing-site, barracks and training facilities were built for the soldiers.
After the end of the 2nd World War II the Sund Meadow is colonized again. What a challenge, as the terrain is inhospitable with the sad remnants of the military establishment and 14,000 bomb making the are more forbidding than ever before. A group of local nature lovers see the opportunity to designate a "German national park on the Baltic coast."
That didn’t last long. In the years 1956/57 the National People's Army claims part of the Sund Meadow. The idea to convert the area north of the road to Pramort again into an anti-aircraft artillery range wins out over the idea of large-scale nature preservation.
The entire area east of the present exhibition information "habitat" is designated as a restricted area. Stepping on or driving on the street behind the barrier is only possible with a special permit.
But what happened with the southern half of Sund Meadow?
This area was used for agriculture by the People’s Cooperative Zingst. It was necessary however, to fill in the bomb craters and defuse unexploded bombs.
To gain new grazing areas, amelioration was the magic of those years. Profitable pasturelands were needed to produce feed on an industrial scale. Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine that the largest dry plant to process grass into pellets in Central Europe was in the Sund Meadow. An ambitious project, which was accompanied by a very intensive use of pasture land. Fertilized areas and embankments lead to the destruction of habitats. Salt grasslands were turned into pasture. Manure, which arose through the factory farming in large quantities, will be was distributed easily to the surface.
Residents who had endured the restrictive measures and their effects on their lives in the Sund Meadow couldn’t or wouldn’t take it anymore and started to leave one by one.
There would be still much more to report. Anyone who reads through the panels in the "habitats" exhibition or in the Sund Meadow will find additional information. There are many other materials to read prior to or after a visit. They were created by employees of the National Park Office and are available in each of the Boddenlandscape national parks.
Already at the end of the 1920s, the head of the Forest District Darß, Franz Mueller, took on earlier attempts to protect the forests of the Darß. In 1931, the Swede Bengt Berg called for a visit to the Darß establishing a Nordic Safari Park. A concept was created, fences were put up on Darß and Zingst - first bison and elk resided there. The idea of a national park and safari on Darß-Zingst-Sund Meadow had a lot of agreement, even by the Prussian Prime Minister Hermann Goering.
Then in 1937, Goering sought an area for gunnery and bombing range, and Mueller gave up the Sund Meadow. That was a mistake. Because of the Luftwaffe getting the land throughout Zingst and the Werder Islands, the end of the conservation project was sealed.
About 20 years had gone by until nature became a recurring theme. In 1955, the painter Karl Heinrich Kluge set out along with other local outdoor enthusiasts and the local branch of the German Cultural League Zingst for a "German national park on the Baltic" - with the aim of preserving the Sund Meadow in its originality. It was however, an unsuccessful effort. At a higher level, the initiative didn’t find resonance.
In all the years of the military use, the claim to protect this land permanently and effectively had never been lost.
In 1989, the time was ripe again to start the attempt to incorporate the Sund Meadow into a national park. 1990 is regarded as the founding year of the National Park Boddenlandscape. Nor is The army was still the owner of the equipment used by the military. It was looking like the attempt to annex the Meadow into the National Park was to fail yet once again. Despite undecided outstanding issues, nature lovers took over the Sund Meadow. A long cordoned off area piqued a lot of interest and protective measures were necessary. A first targeted measure was the general prohibition to travel the road to Pramort with motor vehicles. Initially the National People's army took over, followed by the Bundeswehr whose task it was to curb the destructive effects of the rush of visitors to the area.
In 1991, the army withdrew its supervisory duties. Employees of the National Park were back in their place. Finally, nature wins with the disbanning of the Zingst Garrison on 31 May 1993. Buildings and objects of military use would be dismantled and disappear forever from the reserve. A long cherished dream had come true.
All that remains from the chapter of military use is the former guard house at the entrance to Protection Zone 1 It hosts the exhibition "habitats" of the national park office.
Baltic, Bodden, undisturbed delta areas and especially the tidal flats are ideal breeding and resting area for many bird species. Some find enough food for themselves and their young, others on their passage into winter quarters for their necessary rest. Depending on the claim birds have good long-distance vision to pinpoint enemies in open areas or to find ideal hiding places. For migratory birds, such as the crane, there is hardly a better resting place than this varied region. With 60,000 cranes in the Rügen-Bock-Kirr region, more birds flock and rest here than anywhere else in Europe. Even more so, the geese use the Sund Meadow, to assemble here and then continue to fly into winter quarters.
Only one thing more - discover the Sund Meadow with your own eyes.