Austrian-born Erwin Grogër arrived in Curitiba 26 years ago. An agronomist by training, on Marumbi Peak, Serra do Mar of Paraná, he introduced Brazil to the sport of technical climbing. Grogër lived in the Barreirinha neighborhood of Curitiba and died in 2008 at the age of 96. Grogër was a pioneer not only in mountaineering. Along with his following of climbers, he helped preserve the Serra do Mar of Paraná, which today is one of the best preserved expanses of continuous Atlantic Forest. It deserves to be honored. “At the same time, citizens have a new place for recreation,” said Mayor Luciano Ducci.
It was near his house that the City discovered a three thousand square meter patch of native forest. “Coincidentally, the land was quite steep and fit well with the tribute to the mountaineer,” says Department of Environment architect and head of the project Tarquino Mota. The architect was able to take advantage of the height difference of 12 meters between the street and the highest point on the landscape, without altering the forest. Throughout the forest, benches and paths made of raised wood decking, thus avoid the formation of paths on the ground, preserving the land from possible erosion, and vegetation damage. The decks are set about 1.5 to 2 meters above the lowest point on the terrain. At the entrance, a plaza marked with the design of the Compass Rose is a reference to the sport of mountaineering practiced by Professor Grogër.
“It’s a wonderful gift to the city and to the memory of Professor Erwin. The project is spectacular. Congratulations to the City for the hard work. It’s beautiful.” emphasized the climber Nelson Luiz Alves Penteado, on occasion.
Though small, the Erwin Grogër Forest has been added to Curitiba’s various other parks and further enhances a city known internationally as the Eco Capital, with many green spaces and environmental protection reserves.
The tribute to Professor Erwin Grogër, an initiative of Councilor Juliet Reis, was adopted unanimously by the Curitiba City Council.
Included in the implementation of the forest were several references to the origins of the honoree, such as the red and white colors of the Austrian flag. Circumscribing the Compass Rose are stone plaques describing the highest mountains of Paraná, Pico Paraná (“Parana Peak”), of Brazil: Pico da Neblina (“Cloud Peak”), and of Austria: Monte Gross Glockner, as well as Marumbi Peak.
At the direction of Mayor Luciano Ducci, the House of the Mountaineer will be built at the rear of the forest for the purpose of meetings for clubs and climbers, as well as other institutions associated with the sport. “If you’ve helped protect the Coastal Range, then you’ll be contributing to this urban forest, helping to care for it and preventing vandalism.” said Jose Antonio Andreguetto, Municipal Secretary of Environment.