A 5th Natural Regional Park in The Aubrac

L'Aubrac et ses burons, symboles du patrimoine du nord-Aveyron./Photo DDM, Jean-Louis Pradels
Aubrac with typical “burons”, traditional symbols of the north-Aveyron./Photo DDM, Jean-Louis Pradels

Midi-Pyrénées is the region in the south west of France with the greatest number of Regional Natural Parks, protected areas that will soon extend to The Aubrac.

The Midi-Pyrenees region, along with the neighbouring regions of Languedoc Roussillon and Auvergne are launching the creation of the “Parc Naturel Régional” PNR of The Aubrac.

This will extend the number of PNR to 20% of the region, spread through 8 departments with 1 million hectares of land including:

              • The PNR of Haute Languedoc, created in 1973
              • The PNR of Des Grandes Causses, created in 1995
              • The PNR of Les Causses de Quercy, created in 1999
              • The PNR of Pyrenees-Ariègoises, created in 2009

The PNRs concern the management of the biodiversity and the promotion of Green Tourism – rambling, watersports, climbing and camping are all included, within an area where the fauna and flora are protected.

The difference between a PNR and a national park in France is that in a National park the activities of humans is excluded, whereas it is promoted in the PNRs alongside the development of local activities such as Green Tourism is the encouragement of local specialities such as cheese-making, wine and regional specialities allied with the protection of places of outstanding natural beauty.

The difficulty comes in the balance between places that are frequented by visitors and tourists and the protection of the environment that can ultimately threaten the very existence of the site.

An example can be seen in Gavarny in the Pyrenees, where the number of visitors to the site has meant that vehicule access to the site is now prohibited, access being only by foot – the cost to pay to be able to see these beautiful sites, ensuring that the site preserves its natural beauty for generations to come.

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