16 – Sports in nature. Is it fit for purpose?

Moderator : Olaf Holm. Directeur – Parc naturel régional de la Montagne de Reims

There is an increasing number of events and participants in outdoor leisure and sport activities that take part inside protected areas. This is both a business opportunity and a moment to highlight the protected area’s role in nature conservation. Problems arise at multiple levels from destructive impacts on fauna and flora as well as accidents and safety/rescue issues. Can we manage these elements and still create sporting events in protected areas? Is Sport IN Nature fit for purpose? We will discuss and learn what has been done to organise such events.

Case Study#1

Carlota Martinez Alandi, EUROPARC SPAIN

“Guide to good practices for holding mountain races in protected natural areas”

How can we improve the compatibility between mountain races and other sport activities, and natural and cultural heritage conservation in protected areas? To tackle the growing tendency of mountain races being taking place in protected areas, EUROPARC Spain developed the guidelines “Mountain races in protected areas: the challenge of balancing sport and conservation”, in which runners, sport federations, scientist and natural areas representatives participated.

Carlota will present practical case studies from the field, spark the debate about the positive and negative impacts of mountain races and discuss some solutions from EUROPARC Spain book.

Case Study#2

François BEAUCHARD, Directeur CREPS Rhône-Alpes, ENOS Chairman et Antoine LE BELLEC, chargé de mission, Pôle Resosurce national des sports de nature

“Connecting protected areas and nature sports, work together to face new challenges, the example of the Pôle Ressources National Sports de Nature and the interest of ENOS (European Network of Outdoor Sports)”

Since 2005, protected areas and institutions of sports and its federations worked together to improve the management of sports and events to reduce impacts. A lot of tools are created; the relationships are improved, solutions are found. Cooperation and exchange were necessary to build up a common understanding and work together on solutions.

Today, more and more events are organised in protected areas and even if they are managed in a sustainable way, the increasing number are creating problems of impact. How to find answers to this new question? To have a larger viewpoint on these questions, the European network of outdoor sports (ENOS) could bring some answers to protected areas. What are the tools available?

What is the limit that a protected area can support? What are the good practices on European level?