On the occasion of the 2019 European Week of Sports, the EUROPARC Federation and the European Network of Outdoor Sports (ENOS) have launched simultaneously the 10 Good Principles for Outdoor Sports in Protected Areas (PAs) during their respective Conferences. These Principles aim to promote good conduct among outdoor sports practitioners.
This is the result of fruitful cooperation of both associations and the first outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by EUROPARC and ENOS.
10 Good Principles for Outdoor Sports in Protected Areas
The exponential growth of sport activities in protected natural spaces brings the necessity to structure the way these activities are carried out. At a time when preserving our ecosystems is vital to guarantee a healthy future of nature and people, the Principles aim mainly to lower the impact of outdoor sports on the environment.
Furthermore, these 10 Principles for Outdoor Sports guarantee the maintenance of quality and bring added value to the activities, an aspect that benefits all stakeholders in the sports sector.
The principles encompass the entire process – from getting to the Protected Area to the delivery of the sport activity itself. Therefore, the interpretation of these principles needs to be carried out in an integral way.
As guests in these natural spaces, we will inevitably create an impact. It is our responsibility to minimise harmful effects, so that we can continue enjoying nature in a harmonious way.
These 10 Good Principles for Outdoor Sports in Protected Areas are the first joint outcome of cooperation between two organisations after they signed the Memorandum of Understanding during the EUROPARC Conference 2018 at Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. More actions will follow to implement the ENOS Charter through a Task Force that integrates the work of both organisations.
EU Policy Perspective
European Institutions began to focus on the importance of sports in general, with a special focus on outdoor activities. With the clear aim of establishing common links between the health, culture and sports sector, the European Commission asked for a collaborative approach at the first Week of Sports in 2015 and mentioned the important work of The European Network of Outdoor Sports (ENOS), which at that time was launching the 3rd Nature and Sport Euro’meet.
Now, some years later, under the tag ‘‘Be Active’’, the target has become more consistent and outdoor activities are included in some of the most important political guidelines, as Sustainable Tourism.
As well as the inherent benefits to our health through physical activity, outdoor recreation also provides us with a way of taking time to interact with our green spaces, something recognised across the world as very important for mental wellbeing in particular. From a financial perspective, there are further benefits. Good outdoor spaces and recreation opportunities can provide tremendous opportunities for local economies and tourism, both locally and internationally (European Commission, BeActive Blog)
The main work of EUROPARC Federation is to create a high-level collaboration between Protected Areas and all the stakeholders involved, in this case, those connected with Outdoor Sports. We want to promote a responsible practice of outdoor sports in and around the protected areas. and together with ENOS, we will further develop standards that ensure sustainability and understanding between protected areas and users.
To move the Outdoor Sports agenda forward, a task force with members of the 2 organisations was set to define the 10 Good Principles for Outdoor Sports. From there, we will elaborate a plan to disseminate these 10 Good Principles among Protected Areas all over Europe and among the outdoor sports sector. Besides, we will organise a dissemination event in Brussels involving several European entities to further spread these Principles and to widespread the benefits of practicing sport in nature.
Endorse the 10 Good Principles
Now that you know how the principles work, the next step is to back them up. How? It’s very simple! Here are a few examples:
- Show the 10 Good Principles on your website. Visitors who prepare their trips will be better informed.
- Disseminate information on social media. Use your network to spread the word!
- Use your visitor centre to show and talk about the principles during the visits.
- If you organise or participate in an outdoor sports event, make sure participants know the principles before the activity starts.
- When working with young people, teach them and highlight the importance of respecting these principles. Five minutes of teaching can develop into many years of good practice.
- Talk and spread the word to anyone interested, in any way. All diffusion is important!
Remember that although it may be obvious, this behavior when practicing outdoor sports is not so widespread. Any collaboration from your part is very important to treasure our natural heritage.
The next step in the project will be to go deeper into each sports discipline in order to create principles that are more related and applicable to each activity.
Now it is your turn! Let us know which sports you find the most interesting and important to focus on. Or, contact us with any other suggestion! You can send us your suggestions to communications @ europarc.org
Download the 10 Good Principles as a leaflet or a poster
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