Soon Natural Regional Park of Belledonne

Published on September 3, 2016. By Coline Mionnet

Soon a Natural Regional Park of Belledonne ? Or not !

Since its creation in 1998, Espace Belledonne association is busy to federate socio-economic actors in the Belledonne range territory.
It has emerged as a key partner in the organization of the territory and participates to many promotion projects of its natural, cultural and economic heritage. Thus, development of mountain agriculture and sustainable tourism is encouraged.
In 2009, Espace Belledonne called upon the Rhone-Alpes Region to initiate a process of creation of the Natural Regional Park (NRP) of Belledonne, approved in 2014 following favorable assessments to the project. The foreshadowing mission of the NRP has been entrusted to Espace Belledonne in 2014 and the State emited a favorable notice in February 2016.

What is a Natural Regional Park ?

Remains to achieve full territorial diagnosis and then to draft the Charter of the new NRP in accordance with institutional, economic and social stakeholders of the Belledonne territory.
However, a threat lingers over this project since the regional elections and the arrival of Laurent Wauquiez at the head of the new Rhone-Alpes Auvergne Region. He has indeed brought the creation of the NRP of the Allier Sources and Gorges to a complete halt, confirmed by the last Regional Council vote of July 7. The French NRP Federation regrets this reversal and worries about the NRP project of Belledonne, as well as about the longevity of existing natural regional parks. Laurent Wauquiez would consider them as costly administrative structures that pile up.

How works a Natural Regional Park ?

YouTube vidéo (french) by Fédération des parcs Naturels Régionaux de France.

Michaël Weber, President of the Federation of Natural Regional Parks in France has expressed, in an open letter to the Auvergne Rhone-Alpes Region President last May 26, his fears for the natural regional parks future, which could probably not survive without the regions support.

The NRP in figures :

  • 49 NRP in metropolitan France, 2 overseas
  • 8.7 million hectares
  • 15% of the national territory
  • 12 regions, 74 departments, 4300 municipalities have a PNR or a part of on their territory
  • 4 million inhabitants reside in a PNR
  • 2000 people are employed in a PNR

Natural Park of Chartreuse

YouTube vidéo (french) by Rhône Alpes Tourisme / JPRSCG

The NRP territories include :

  • 60 000 farms (11.5% of farms in France)
  • 320 000 companies (7% of the french economic fabric)

The PNR cover:

  • 37% of wooded areas, or more than 50% of national natural reserves
  • 22% of the classified sites area (1.28% of French territory)
  • 21.6% of the sites of the Conservatoire du Littoral (0.13% of French territory)
  • 18.9% of the Natura 2000 classified land territories (12.41% of the national territory)
  • One third of the 36 French sites recognized by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation of wetlands

Natural Regional Parks and sustainable tourism

The NRP are major players of ecotourism, nature preservation and education.
As such, they develop a strategy around four missions:

  • Reinforce and enhance the parks image of exceptional destination
  • Favor the emergence of specific tourist offers
  • Assist professional actors in creation and promotion of their project activities
  • Promote and develop cooperation between public and private actors

The « Park » brand

30 NRP, 1000 of tourism providers use the « Home Park » brand or marketing products under the name “product of the natural regional park of ……“.
Reference to parks provides substantial added value to those who use it.

Brand “Produit du Parc“:
l’exemple de la carrière Plo dans le Haut Languedoc

Vidéo YouTube (french) by Fédération des Parcs naturels régionaux de France

European Charter for sustainable tourism

26 PNR have signed this binding Charter and have developed powerful tools for the management and development of their touristic offer.


Presentation of the NRP project of Belledonne (french)

Full text of the open letter from Mr Michael Weber, President of the Federation of the NRP (french)

NRP Federation website

Interactive map of parks

Site Europarc Fédération, Charte Européenne du Tourisme Durable dans les Aires Protégées

Open letter from Fr̩di Meignan, Pr̩sident of Mountain Wilderness France, to Laurent Wauquiez, president of Auvergne РRh̫ne-Alpes Region