The waves go wild in the nationally and internationally known and popular bouldering area Magic Wood. The Saluz long-term tenant family received notice of termination from the municipality of Ferrera. What is going on in the Aver Valley? Will the Magic Wood bouldering area soon lose its magic? LACRUX spoke to Thomas Saluz and the Mayor Albert Rauch.

The bouldering area Magic Wood belongs together with Cresciano, Chironico, Brione und dem Val Bavona to the world's best and most popular bouldering areas. A corresponding number of people visit the area in the Aver Valley.

Magic Wood was one of the few areas to find a sensible solution for national and international guests early on. In the beginning it was a simple pitch, but now there is a friendly and simple campsite and the Edelweiss inn as a place to stay. The camping and the inn have been operated by the Saluz family for many years.

The Saluz family: Committed and with an understanding of the clientele

Thomas Saluz, Operator of the facilities, is a passionate climber himself and knows what guests want.

It was always clear to us that we wanted to offer good service at a moderate price, so that overnight stays were affordable for our numerous international guests.

Thomas Saluz

The price structure and the understanding of the needs of climbers are partly responsible for why the problem with camping in the Magic Wood was brought under control. Thomas Saluz is well known in the Swiss climbing scene and is appreciated by everyone. Accordingly, one is surprised in the climbing scene about the decision of the community.

I was with Thomas on every Magic Wood trip. He and his family are just awesome!

American professional climber Alex Puccio
Alex Puccio ascending the Magic Wood classic New Base Line. (Photo Joel Zerr)

Surprising termination by the community

As Thomas Saluz told LACRUX, the termination came out of the blue. Before the termination, there was no warning or warning from the community.

Criticism was clearly voiced here and there during visits. But there was never a real conversation or warning. For us, the termination comes out of the blue.

Thomas Saluz

The termination of the lease contract by the municipality, which owns the facilities, was issued without justification. Thomas Saluz requested a reason from the arbitration board and received it in mid-June. Various points are criticized, including concrete and less concrete arguments. A reason for the termination is poor hygiene and order.

We clean our systems twice a day. If someone leaves a mess or the toilet dirty during the day, then of course that will only be cleaned in the evening.

Thomas Saluz

Online petition triggers wave of solidarity

Because of the surprising termination Swiss climber Martin Keller launched an online petition, which calls on the community to cancel the termination. The petition was signed by over 48 people within 3 hours, and over 400 people expressed their solidarity in comments.

I am overwhelmed by the solidarity of the climbing scene. Of course that pleases me.

Thomas Saluz

National and international climbers such as Fred Nicole, Giuliano Cameroni, Nalle Hukkataival, Chris Schulte, Alex Puccio, Tom Paul Randall, Bernd Zangerl and many more. The opinions of the supporters as well as the ratings of the inn and camping speak a different language than the community. What does the mayor say about the situation?

This is what the mayor Albert Rauch says about the termination of the lease in Magic Wood

Why is the lease contract terminated?
The lease with Thomas Saluz was extended three years ago. At that time, Thomas Saluz did not agree with the changes to the contract requested by the municipality. Among other things, with the increase in the rent. The arbitration board agreed with him at the time that we had to grant him a low rent. Since the beginning of the collaboration with Thomas Saluz, there has been a lack of willingness to cooperate with the municipal board. Another reason is poor hygiene and order in Camping Magic Wood. The businesses are not managed as agreed.

One of the reasons is the lack of interest in advancing the community and the region together. What do you mean with that?
Various investments will have to be made in the near future in order to deal with the numerous visitors to the area. Among other things, parking spaces for day visitors must be created and an overpass to connect the two camping areas realized. These costs can only be financed by increasing the rent. Thomas Saluz opposes such an increase.

We have to raise the rent to finance necessary investments.

Mayor Albert Rauch

It is also criticized that the wild camper controls by the tenants are no longer carried out and the police should have moved out due to incorrectly parked vehicles. Do these points fall within the tenant's area of ​​responsibility?
Article 9 of the lease agreement states, among other things, that the leaseholder is responsible for the care of the entire area, the parking lot and the green areas. The contract does not explicitly state that the lessee must control the wild camper. However, the municipality expects the tenant to check and report wild camper and incorrectly parked vehicles. I have discussed this problem verbally with Thomas Saluz and asked him to drive the wild camper around the Magic Wood.

According to Thomas Saluz, there was neither a warning nor a warning from the community. What do you think?
We have various minutes of the discussion between him and the municipality of Ferrera in recent years. He knew that we disagree with him on many points. He obviously doesn't take our criticism seriously.

A petition has been launched. 3 people signed the petition within 400 hours. Over 48 comments, all of them positive, were received. The solidarity in Switzerland and worldwide for the Saluz family is huge. What do you think?
I saw that the petition was launched.

The feedback from guests on review portals is positive with very few exceptions and does not cover the picture drawn by the community. What do you think?
I know that visitors agree to these sowing rules, even say that it is clean. But the hygienic conditions of the plants are terrible.

The hygienic conditions of the plants are terrible.

Mayor Albert Rauch

Apparently there is a risk of price increases should there be a change of tenant. What do you think?
Yes. The prices have to go up. We can only finance the investments that we have to make with higher prices.

Will you withdraw from the climbing scene due to the big wave of solidarity?
I have to leave this decision to the municipal board. We spent a long time in the municipal board, whether we want to terminate the lease or not. It wasn't a night-and-fog operation, it wasn't an easy decision. What can go on and I don't want to say. The decision was made earlier this year. Then Corona came. We met Thomas Saluz financially during this time. Then we had to give notice so that the contractual relationship could be terminated at the end of the year.


LACRUX calls for the petition to be signed

We ask all climbers to sign the online petition with the request to the municipality of Ferrera to cancel the termination of the lease contract.

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Credits: Cover picture Radoslaw Szabla

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