For snow sport enthusiasts, the Alps are getting more and more attractive beyond ski resorts. The current leisure trends in ski mountaineering, free-riding and snowshoeing have largely augmented the number of winter visitors in protected areas and other sensitive areas in the Alps, thereby increasing the impacts on wildlife and the Alpine environment.
Although many organisations and public bodies in the Alpine countries have long been engaged in awareness-raising communication, wildlife disturbance and its impacts are still a major concern in many areas. To increase the awareness of the problem among outdoor participants and contribute to the visibility of the many existing initiatives, the Alpine network of protected areas ALPARC has developed the joint communication initiative: “Be Part of the Mountain”.
Be Part of the Mountain” is an international cooperation initiative that wants to ally protected areas, nature protection organisations, public bodies, Alpine clubs and ambassadors – across the Alps.
Coordinated by the ALPARC operational unit, the initiative aims at facilitating the exchange of good practices, developing common awareness-raising tools and implementing joint communication action to initiate behavioral change of outdoor participants.
Be Part of the Mountain” is a cooperation initiative that builds on a charter. Organisations and ambassadors who are committed to this topic and would like to take part in exchanges and communication action at Alpine scale are welcome to sign the charter.
Take a look at the logo.
Humans are a part of the Alpine environment. As such, people who engage in outdoor sports need to consider nature and indigenous wildlife in the Alps and act responsibly to preserve it. Today, many impacts occur through ignorance rather than bad intention.
Together, raise awareness of and empower outdoor sport participants and stakeholders for the protection of wildlife and Alpine biodiversity.
Inform and educate about the impacts of outdoor recreational activities.
Develop and make use of joint communication and education tools.
Exchange and share knowledge, experiences and tools.
Develop new partnerships to implement common information and communication actions.
In March 2016, ALPARC together with ASTERS (Association of Nature Reserves of Higher Savoy) and the Massif des Bauges Regional nature park organized a first international seminar on wildlife disturbance through winter sport activities (Lescheraines, F). The experts agreed that this issue is up-to-date almost everywhere in the Alps and therefore needs particular attention and joint action. They expressed the desire to develop concrete actions in terms of awareness-raising communication at the trans-alpine level within the ALPARC network. The event resulted in the formation of a working group and a steering committee.
Following this event, ALPARC successfully developed the project WeWild (We respect Alpine wildlife), which aims at developing a joint communication strategy and to create first communication tools for the members of the working group. Financed by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN, Germany) with funds of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB, Germany), it started in December 2016 and runs until November 2018.
In January 2018, ALPARC launched the initiative “Be Part of the Mountain” as the main output of the communication strategy developed in the WeWild project.
For further information on the WeWild project, click here.
In the German Alps, the project Skibergsteigen umweltfreundlich (Eco-friendly ski mountaineering) of the German Alpine Club (Deutscher Alpenverein, DAV) has started in 1996. Since then; approximately 500 ski mountaineering routes in about 180 frequently visited areas in the Bavarian Alps between Berchtesgaden and Lake Constance have been tested for environmental compatibility, and 230 preservation areas (tranquility areas) have been designated. Itineraries and preservation areas are presented on panels, printed maps and online. In 2015, the DAV rebranded and the project and launched the campaign Natürlich auf Tour (Eco-friendly on tour). (German)
In the State of Vorarlberg (Austria), the campaign Respektiere deine Grenzen (lit. respect your limits) was launched in 2003 at the initiative of the regional government. Its focus is awareness-raising communication using multiple supports and communication channels in the whole region including urban space. Winter and summer activities are addressed. In 2006, the campaign was rewarded the first International Alpine Forest Protection Prize in the category of public relations. Other states such as the Salzburgerland, have spread the campaign in their own territory. (German)
In Switzerland, the nation-wide campaign Respektiere deine Grenzen / Respecter c’est protéger (English wording: Respect to protect) was launched in 2010 (2011 in the French-speaking cantons) supported by the Federal Office for the Environment (OFEV) and the Swiss Alpine Club (Club Alpin Suisse, CAS). Built on a strong partnership and collaboration with the cantons, the campaign was repeated every winter till now with adaptations of the various communication supports and educational material. Besides existing legal wildlife protection areas, voluntary preservation areas were designated in collaboration with the cantons. A cartography tool online presents these areas for route planning. Today, the campaign is managed by the association “Natur & Freizeit”, which was founded in September 2016. (German, French, Italian, English)
In South Tyrol (Italy), the regional initiative Freiheit mit Rücksicht / Libertà e rispetto (Freedom with respect) by the South Tyrolean Alpine club (AVS) and the hunting federation runs since 2010. Based on the Swiss campaign, it produced information material and on-site guidance measures in three pilot sites. (German, Italian)
In Tyrol (Austria), the programme Bergwelt Tirol - Miteinander erleben (Mountains in Tyrol - experience together), has been launched in 2015 in order to address multiple usage conflicts that arise today in the mountains, among others, also wildlife disturbance in winter. The programme developed communication material (website, videos) and elaborated collectively a ski and snowboard concept. (German)
In France, the ongoing project Biodiv’Sports (2017-2018) managed by the LPO Isère aims at developing a new approach to designate collectively and map voluntary tranquility and preservation areas on online outdoor sport platforms. (French)
Gesäuse National park (Austria, 2007). Fair play im Winter. / Im Winter auf Tour. Communication and information campaign accompanying a visitor management strategy. (German)
Massif des Bauges Regional nature park (France, 2012). Respecter, c’est protéger. Local adaptation of the Swiss campaign involving and empowering local stakeholders. (French)
Nagelfluhkette nature park (Germany, 2014). Dein Freiraum. Mein Lebensraum. Local umbrella campaign linking the German and Vorarlberg campaigns locally in a transboundary park. (German)
Chartreuse Regional nature park (France, 2017). Tous mobilisés autour du tétras lyre. Approach to collectively protect the black grouse through a territorial dialogue. (French)
Different other information campaigns exist locally in almost all protected areas in the Alps.