Prior to 1990, the border between Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt used to be the border between East and West Germany complete with fence and fortified frontier. The Brocken was an East German and Russian military surveillance post used to spy on any military activity in Western Europe. From the East German side access to many villages was severely restricted. Roads and railway tracks were either closed or demolished, thus later facilitating the establishment of the Harz National Park. The division of the Harz by the Iron Curtain is still noticeable in the marketing of the Harz as a tourist destination with various sites on the old Inner German Border being preserved for historic and tourism reasons.
Tourism is the main source of income for the region. Unemployment is high, especially after the collapse of the industrial complexes in former East Germany. The number of tourists visiting a town is politically important. Goslar and sourounding villages compete against the cluster of Wernigerode, Quedlinburg and Blankenburg and the Southern Harz regions in attracting tourists. This competition is not always friendly!
It is important to note that recommendations on where to go in the region are coloured by a person's (East German or West German) origin. Each of the regions tries to pass itself of as the "ultimate Harz experience". Try to forget about the East/West rivalry as reunification is more and more a thing of the past (and a long term success) in people's minds at least, and just enjoy the wild and natural beauty of the area.
The access point for the Northern part is Goslar, which can be reached from Hannover and Halle(Saale), while the southern part is reached by train from Göttingen and Erfurt.
From Berlin, BerlinLinienBus  runs daily to the Harz from Berlin ZOB.
The A 38 runs south of the Harz from Halle to Göttingen and the A 395 connects Goslar and Bad Harzburg in the northwest with Braunschweig and Hannover. The B 6 is an important connection along the northern range.
The best-known mode of transport is the historic narrow-gauge steam railway network operated by the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways (Harzer Schmalspurbahnen) or HSB. There are also other, standard gauge lines run by Deutsche Bahn, mainly around the margins of the Harz. Local buses connect towns which are not on the railway line. Having your own car is recommended if you want to travel extensively in the region. Inside the national park the only permissible ways of getting about are on the steam railway, on foot or by bike.