from forests to peaks, natural parks are overcrowded

Animal herd or group of vacationers, which is more difficult to channel? The answer can be humiliating. We have experienced this interesting experience since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the natural parks, which are a haven for French tourists in search of space: “The more we can work with breeders to prevent animals from drinking water in the river, the more difficult it is for tourists.”, From Thomas Island to the Arree Mountains, observes Thibaut Thierry, development director of the Armorique (Finistère) Regional Nature Park.

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Mr. Thierry is trying to protect the vegetation and riverbanks in the Huelgoat forest, which is a world of rocky chaos, bullfights and still hikers. “We have been overcrowding on the coast for decades. We are less comfortable in a forest environment, Mr. Thierry adds. The National Forestry Administration recently took steps to encourage forest exploration. Today, we must rationalize the ways to limit the pressure on the natural environment. “

Eleven national parks and 56 French regional parks are battling an explosion of participation, often captured by regional customers eager to walk and ride a bike. The attraction for natural parks did not start with Covid-19: 2010 marked the rise of green tourism, which had already been exploited by private actors and promoted by parks. However, the May 2020 disinfection blew up the ceiling.

“I’m not used to gestures of adoption”

Although the explosion is visible to the naked eye for locals, it is difficult to predict because there is no entrance to a natural park in France. The eco-meters installed on the walkways will record a 30% increase from the summer of 2019 to 2020 in the Ecrins National Park (Hautes Alpes and Isère) or the Gavarnie Circus, the main venue of the Iberian Islands. If we believe the figures for mountain reserves, the growth will still be noticeable this summer. In the summer of 2020, traces of extreme tourism appeared at high altitudes: full stops, disputes between visitors, waste, traffic jams …

Park officials insist that beginners don’t behave badly – even though they see them as more and more environmentally conscious – which they are not. “I am not familiar with the measures to be taken in a protected natural environment”, Michael Weber, president of the Federation of Regional Natural Parks of France, said politely. To dance in a mountain lake? Take a flower? Do you approach a goat grazing quietly? Is the fire burning or its portable speaker? Bad thoughts. Park guards and mountain rescue services have completed the summer in a filtered manner.

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